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Top Blue Jays News
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Sharp beginning to spring
Kikuchi gave up one hit and struck out three batters over two scoreless innings in Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Pirates.
The southpaw tossed 19 of 30 pitches for strikes. Kikuchi is coming off his best MLB season to date, posting a 3.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 181:48 K:BB through 167.2 innings in 2023, but per Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic, he's looking to take another step forward by ditching his splitter for a circle change, a pitch that should have more separation from his mid-90s fastball. "His delivery was awesome, stuff was really good, too," Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Monday's game. "Changeup's going to be a big pitch for him - especially against those righties. I thought everything that he set out to do today, he did. Fastball command was there, slider was sharp - really, really good first outing for him."... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Erik Swanson: Away from camp
Manager John Schnieder said Tuesday that Swanson stepped away from the team in order to be with his family, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com reports.
Swanson's four-year-old son was struck by a car over the weekend, and the veteran pitcher will understandably prioritize his family for the immediate future.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Kevin Gausman: Spring debut coming next week
Blue Jays manager John Schneider said Monday that Gausman is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut at some point next week, Hazel Mae of Sportsnet reports.
Gausman's delayed entry into the Blue Jays' spring pitching schedule isn't the result of an injury; instead, the veteran right-hander prefers to build up early in camp with a few live throwing sessions before he pitches in a game. Coming off a 2023 season in which Gausman finished third in the American League Cy Young balloting, the Blue Jays are more than happy to let the 33-year-old dictate how he readies himself for the upcoming season. Toronto hasn't formally named an Opening Day starter, but barring an injury developing during the spring, Gausman will almost certainly be toeing the rubber March 28 in Tampa Bay.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Jose Berrios: Set for spring debut Thursday
Berrios is scheduled to start Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Phillies, Hazel Mae of Sportsnet reports.
Berrios had initially been expected to make his spring debut Wednesday, but the Blue Jays opted to push him back a day, likely so that he can stay more closely aligned in the pitching order with top-of-rotation arms Kevin Gausman and Chris Bassitt. After submitting a bloated 5.23 ERA and 1.42 WHIP over 32 starts in 2022, Berrios delivered a return to form last season, bringing those ratios down to 3.65 and 1.19, respectively, while bumping his strikeout rate back up from 19.8 to 23.5 percent. Set to turn 30 years old in May, Berrios doesn't look like he'll ever emerge as the staff ace some envisioned he would become during his early years in Minnesota, but aside from the disastrous 2022 season, he's largely been a dependable arm for fantasy pitching staffs throughout his career.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Ricky Tiedemann: Resumes throwing
Blue Jays manager John Schneider said Tiedemann (hamstring/calf) was able to play catch Sunday, Hazel Mae of Sportsnet reports.
Tiedemann was scratched ahead of his scheduled start in Saturday's Grapefruit League opener against the Phillies after experiencing inflammation between his left hamstring and calf, but his ability to throw in some fashion a day later is an encouraging sign. Schneider indicated that the Blue Jays are continuing to view Tiedemann as day-to-day, and the team likely won't pencil him back into the spring pitching schedule until he throws a bullpen session without issue.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Ricky Tiedemann: Deemed day-to-day
Tiedemann was diagnosed with minor left calf and hamstring inflammation Saturday after undergoing an MRI and is considered day-to-day, Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun reports.
Tiedemann's injury will keep him off the mound for Saturday's spring opener against Philadelphia, but the 21-year-old pitching prospect likely won't have to wait long to see his first action of the Grapefruit League slate. Chad Dallas will start in Tiedemann's place Saturday.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Ricky Tiedemann: Scratched with hamstring issue
Tiedemann won't start Saturday's Grapefruit League opener Saturday against the Phillies due to left hamstring tightness, Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun reports.
The Blue Jays' top prospect was poised to kick off the club's spring slate, but he's instead been pushed back. Manager John Schneider doesn't believe it to be a serious injury, but Tiedemann will be evaluated further Saturday. The 21-year-old lefty wasn't expected to begin the season on the Opening Day roster, but the Jays will want to keep him healthy for a potential big-league debut over the summer.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' George Springer: Will be club's leadoff hitter
Blue Jays manager John Schneider said Thursday that Springer will remain the club's leadoff hitter in 2024, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com reports.
Springer spent several weeks during the second half last season mostly battling fourth or fifth. However, he returned to his typical leadoff spot down the stretch and that's where his skipper says he'll begin the upcoming season. Schneider also noted that Springer is working on pulling the ball more in 2024. His pull rate was just 39.5 percent in 2023 after coming in at 48.3 percent in 2022 and 49.3 percent in 2021.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Bo Bichette: Cross trains during offseason
Bichette said Wednesday that he added pilates, swimming and Muay Thai to his offseason training regimen and has been pleased with his physical conditioning in the early stages of spring training, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic reports.
Specifically, Bichette said his pilates and Muay Thai workouts were targeted toward his right leg, after he missed 25 games in 2023 with right patellar tendinitis and a right quadricep strain. Bichette is hoping that the more holistic approach to his offseason training will yield better results in 2024, after both he and the Blue Jays offense as a whole fell a bit short of their lofty expectations heading into the past season. Even in what was considered a down year for Bichette, particularly in the running game -- he stole just five bags in eight attempts after nabbing 38 combined steals over the prior two campaigns -- the 25-year-old still finished with a .306 batting average and a .814 OPS, the fourth straight season in which he's cleared .800. Bichette batted primarily out of the two hole in 2023, but it's unclear if he'll remain in that spot or if he'll hit third or fourth, which he did over the Blue Jays' final four games of last season.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Ricky Tiedemann: Set to start spring opener
Tiedemann will get the start Saturday against the Phillies in the Blue Jays' Grapefruit League opener, Mike Wilner of The Toronto Star reports.
The 21-year-old southpaw is Toronto's top pitching prospect, but he was limited to 65 innings during 2023, including a stint in the Arizona Fall League, due to injuries. Tiedemann struck out 105 batters in those frames, highlighting his impressive upside, but the Jays will be focused on keeping him healthy this season rather than rushing him to the majors. "Obviously [Tiedemann has] incredible stuff," pitching coach Pete Walker said Wednesday. "Exploding fastball and really good breaking stuff. And he's still developing that changeup, which can be really good. He just has to pitch." While the team's rotation doesn't have a spot for Tiedemann at the moment, and he's expected to begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo, he could begin laying the groundwork for his MLB debut with a strong performance Saturday.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Cavan Biggio: Completes batting practice
Biggio (shoulder) was able to take a round of batting practice Thursday, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com reports.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider noted one week ago that Biggio was dealing with left shoulder tendinitis upon reporting to spring training, but the issue doesn't look to be anything too concerning. The fact that Biggio is already hitting without any apparent limitations bodes well for his chances of being available for Grapefruit League action in the near future, even if he's not included in the Blue Jays' initial spring lineups.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero: Healthy to begin spring
Guerrero acknowledged Tuesday that he played through nagging injuries for most of 2023, but he spent the offseason getting into better shape in an effort to stay in one piece through the long season, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic reports. "I achieved all the goals that I wanted to achieve," Guerrero said. "Of course, being in shape like I used to be, like I felt before in previous years, and I really believe that I achieved that goal. And I feel great right now."
The first baseman dealt with knee and wrist issues last year, and while he missed only six games, he wasn't often playing at 100 percent. "If I tell you that I didn't play with pain in a lot of games, I would be lying," he said. "But that's not an excuse. It's part of the game. Sometimes you got to go on the field and grind, even if everything hurts. Also, I probably won't blame that because I didn't have the best preparation in the offseason last year." Guerrero seems to have learned his lesson when it comes to offseason prep, as he reported to camp both trimmer and stronger. If improved fitness translates into better results at the plate, the 24-year-old could recapture the MVP-level form he displayed in 2021.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Nate Pearson: Working on splitter
Pearson is attempting to add a split-finger fastball to his arsenal, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic reports.
"We're still working on it, but he threw some really good ones today that could be really effective at the major-league level," pitching coach Pete Walker said Sunday. Injuries and control issues have prevented Pearson from reaching his ceiling, but the 27-year-old right-hander still features premium fastball velocity (96th percentile last season) and is trying to find himself as a high-leverage reliever. Toronto's bullpen picture is crowded and Pearson still has a minor-league option left, however, so he might need to dominate this spring to make the Opening Day roster.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Mitch White: Showing good velo early
White sat 94-95 mph with his fastball during his first bullpen session this spring, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic reports.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider described the 29-year-old right-hander as "electric", but a February bullpen session is still a long way from big-league success. White has struggled in the majors since being acquired from the Dodgers in August 2022, stumbling to a 7.60 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 55.2 innings, but he did finish last year with an impressive run at Triple-A Buffalo that saw him post a 1.89 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 43:14 K:BB over his last 33.1 innings (seven starts). White is out of minor-league options, which would seem to lock him into a long relief spot on the Opening Day roster.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yariel Rodriguez: Tosses first bullpen Sunday
Rodriguez threw his first bullpen session of the spring Sunday, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic reports.
The Cuban right-hander was a late arrival in camp due to visa issues, but Rodriguez was still able to tease the upside that landed him a five-year, $32 million contract from the Blue Jays this winter. "He's got a lot of weapons. He's got just about every pitch in the book from different angles," pitching coach Pete Walker said after the session. "He's got a slight hesitation in the delivery. There are certainly some things there that are interesting, and we'll just have to kind of fine-tune a little bit and find out what will really work the best at the major-league level." Rodriguez will be stretched out as a starter early in spring training, but if he makes the Opening Day roster, he's more likely to be used in long relief.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Daulton Varsho: Focused on correcting swing
Varsho felt he sold out for power in 2023 and got away from the swing that had given him success prior to being traded to the Blue Jays, Mike Wilner of the Toronto Star reports. "(That) got me just underneath the ball," Varsho said Saturday, "missing a lot of pitches that I should be hammering and getting in bad counts when you're fouling off the ball you should be hitting."
The 27-year-old still supplied the Jays with excellent defense in left and center field, but his .674 OPS was a disappointment after Varsho had posted a .748 OPS with the Diamondbacks in 2021-22. "It's not about how high you hit it, it's about how hard you hit it and how low on a line," he said. "That was my approach going into this offseason... being able to get that feel back of staying above the baseball." Given his age and pedigree, it's possible Varsho hasn't reached his ceiling yet at the plate, but the Jays -- and those with fantasy shares in him -- would be content to see him simply regain his prior form.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Spencer Horwitz: Facing competition in camp
Horwitz could be battling the recently signed Daniel Vogelbach for a spot on the Blue Jays' bench.
The 26-year-old Horwitz was expected to be the main backup at first base and DH, offering a left-handed option behind Vladimir Guerrero and Justin Turner, but that's exactly the role Vogelbach has filled during his career. Horwitz offers more contact that the veteran and slashed .337/.450/.495 for Triple-A Buffalo last season with 10 homers in 107 games, but Vogelbach's career .814 OPS against right-handed pitching and power upside would give the Jays' bench an element it currently lacks. Given the duo's limited defensive flexibility, it seems highly unlikely both would make the 26-man roster.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yariel Rodriguez: Not yet in camp
Rodriguez has yet to report to spring training as he deals with visa issues, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic reports.
The Cuban right-hander didn't pitch at all in 2023 and spent the three seasons before that in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons, so this will be Rodriguez's first campaign with an MLB organization. The 26-year-old is expected to join the Blue Jays soon, giving him plenty of time to prove he's ready to face big-league hitters before Opening Day, but the club may still elect to have him begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo. If he does break camp on the 26-man roster, Rodriguez is expected to be eased in with a long-relief role.... See More ... See Less