3:32 PM Eastern

Yes, the Jays also lost, but that’s beside the point.

It was guaranteed win day for the Blue Jays as they split their squad into Blue and Gray and took the field to battle it out in an intra-squad game on the eve of their Grapefruit opener against the Pirates.

The Blue team was made up of the likely Opening Day starters, with one possible exception – Eric Thames started for the Blue, but he is in a pitched battle with Travis Snider to earn the starting left field job.  In this game, Snider took the early lead by going 1-for-3 with an RBI double high off the wall in right-centre field.  Rick VandenHurk, the former Marlin and Oriole,  served it up.  Thames went 0-for-2, but one of his outs was a hard-hit line drive to third off Drew Hutchison.  Snider and Thames had one play each in the outfield, and each made a routine catch of a routine fly ball.

The Blue team – that probable starters – didn’t do much of anything offensively, and their miscues on defense cost them in what wound up being a 2-1 win for the Grays.  They managed just two hits – a groundball single to left by Yunel Escobar to lead off the game and a solo homer to right-centre by Colby Rasmus in the 5th.  Kelly Johnson walked to follow Escobar’s hit, and the next 12 Blues were retired in order by Brandon Morrow (2), Jason Frasor (3), Hutchison (3), Evan Crawford (3 – including strikeouts of Jose Bautista and Adam Lind – both looking) and Deck McGuire (1, before serving up the Rasmus shot).

The Grays got things going early, as Rajai Davis led things off with the first of his two-strike hits, this a grounder to left.  He moved to second when Omar Vizquel followed with a grounder up the middle, and danced around enough to draw a pickoff throw from Ricky Romero.  Romero’s throw was wide of the mark, and Davis took off for third, drawing a wild throw from Rasmus in centre.  As the ball sailed over Brett Lawrie’s head, Davis turned for home. Romero fielded the carom off the backstop and fired to the plate just a hair late – according to Davis and whoever was umpiring home plate.  Romero and J.P. Arencibia insist that Rajai was out, but the run counted.

That left a man on third with nobody out, and Romero pitched out of it by striking out Snider and Ben Francisco and getting David Cooper to fly to centre.

The Grey team’s second run came in the third, when Davis hit a flare over second that dropped in front of Rasmus for a single (also with two strikes) and scored on Snider’s one-out double off the wall.

Other highlights included Omar Vizquel making a nice play up the middle on a bouncing ball by Lawrie and just nipping him at first with the throw – that’s something on which the Blue Jays will keep a very close eye, Vizquel’s throwing arm, and this was a very good sign early.  Also, Ben Francisco threw Yunel Escobar out at third in the first. YEscobar made an extremely ambitious tag on a shallowish fly by Bautista, and Francisco made him pay.  Kelly Johnson guessed right, and stole second on a Brandon Morrow pitch that wound up in the dirt.

Romero wound up throwing 17 pitches, 13 for strikes – he’ll start Tuesday, home to the Phillies (we’ll have it for you on mlb.com).  Morrow threw 20 pitches – 10 balls, 10 strikes – he starts Wednesday, when the Jays split their squad.  Not sure if he’ll start at home against the Red Sox or make the trip to Bradenton to face the Pirates.

The players relished the chance to actually get on the field and play a game, as opposed to just taking (or throwing) batting practice and doing fielding drills, and from here on out, they’ll actually be playing teams in a different uniform as the Pirates make the trip up to Bradenton for the first of a home-and-home on Saturday afternoon.

We will be on across the Blue Jays Radio Network beginning with the pre-game show at 12:30 PM Eastern.  Jerry Howarth begins his 32nd full season behind the mic with the Jays, Alan Ashby is in for his 6th, and I’ll have the honour of working Jays’ broadcasts for an 11th season.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that that would have been the case.  Tom Young is back with us, as well. The birthday boy is beginning his 5th year in charge of making sure we actually get on the air, and he does a tremendous job.

Here are today’s collected works of audio for your listening pleasure:

First, John Farrell:

Download

Here’s Colby Rasmus:

Download

Ricky Romero:

Download

Evan Crawford:

Download

And my one-on-one chat with Rajai Davis:

Download

Please follow me on The Twitter, if you’re not doing so already – you can find me @Wilnerness590.

Comments are welcome, I read them all and respond to most!

 

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9 Responses to “Jays Win! Jays Win!”
  1. 1.

    Do both Thames and Snider have options left? Do you think the loser of the LF battle goes back down to LV? Speaking of options, whats a good source on which to look up this info?

    MW: Yes, yes and usually MLBTradeRumors.com is good with stuff like that.

    - FB
  2. 2.

    You have some reverb on the Rajai clip

    - Docfan32
  3. 3.

    Hey Mike,

    One guy who impressed me quite a bit last year was Chad Beck. I’m surprised he isn’t included in the bullpen possibilities.
    Good enough for Pete Rose, good enough for me. :)

    Thoughts?

    MW: He’s definitely on the list of go-to guys in case of an injury, but there’s no room for him in the big-league bullpen if everyone is healthy.

    - Scotty B
  4. 4.

    Hi Mike,

    I’m trying to look into the future and see who may be starting the three games I’m going to later this month in Dunedin. The problem is I’m missing something. The way I’ve pencilled the names in starting on Saturday with Cecil/Alvarez/McGowan (except this Monday)/Romero/Morrow gives me McGowan starting opening day in Cleveland which I know isn’t the plan. I have one of the five starters working on the S/S days and no one moving up on off days, so what am I missing?

    See you in FL!

    MW: Things can change rapidly and drastically – they already have. It’s impossible to plan far in advance. The Jays are going to set up the rotation to go Romero/Morrow/Cecil/Alvarez/McGowan, but there’s an off-day after the opener, so things can get juggled around.

    - Chris B
  5. 5.

    Mike, my dad and me are going to Spring Training next week. What are your favorite restaurants in Dunedin? See you next week!

    MW: I don’t eat out much in Dunedin, moreso Clearwater and Tampa. If you like seafood, I recommend Shepherd’s on Clearwater Beach.

    - @jackbats5
  6. 6.

    hi mike,

    i’m so happy that the jays are back in action. i just wanted to say thank you for posting all the audio and your appropriate analysis of each spring game (well at least one, but consider this an advanced thank you for the rest to come).

    with the hot stove all but turned off, and no “meaningful” games for about a month, i’m really gonna lean on your blog for my daily blue jays fix. there are only so many fluff pieces a man can endure, so your efforts are extra appreciated.

    chris

    - chris 32 time caller
  7. 7.

    Hey Mike,

    Check your 8th paragraph. I know you are a stickler for correct spelling (names included). As a fellow ‘Brandon’ I can say we don’t take too kindly to the alternate spellings.

    MW: Nuts! Thanks. Fixed.

    - Brendan Morrow
  8. 8.

    hey Mike, sitting here on a coldish Sat. afternoon and i haven’t smiled this broadly since last April.. as I listen to Gerry Howarth announce the first Spring training game about to be played from a more spring like Florida afternoon..

    “let the games begin “- Indeed!!
    thanks Mike.. enjoy!

    - frank
  9. 9.

    Any chance Hutchinson makes the team out of camp if he has lawrie like stats

    MW: Only if a few guys get hurt. It’s highly unlikely.

    - Dave
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