Just a few quick takeaways from yesterday's game:
The second base competition:
Maicer Izturis had a single and drove in a couple of runs. He made a nice play in the field. The most important thing for him is to show he is healthy and he looked healthy. I wouldn't call him 'big and strong' like Pat did. On a team with Bautista, Encarnacion, Donaldson and roughly a dozen pitchers in the 6'3" and up range, he looks like a puny middle infielder, which is what he is.
Devon Travis had 4 at bats, and had weak ground outs in each. He didn't look good at the plate (yeah, reading too much in the first game of spring). His last at bat was with 2 outs, bases loaded, in the 9th, so that one stands out. I would have liked to see good contact, but he had another weak ground ball. He didn't show as good an eye at the plate as I was hoping to see. It's early but he needs a good spring to win the job. He looked smooth and showed a good arm in the field.
Ryan Goins played short, had 2 hard hit singles in his first two at bats. The 3rd at bat is the one that people will remember, runners on first and second, in the 9th, down a run and he couldn't get a bunt down. Goins is the type of player that will have to be able to put down a bunt in that situation. I bet, over the next few days, he spends most of his batting practice time on bunts.
Izturis had a leg up in the competition for second base before the game and didn't lose any of his lead.
Pillar and Pompey
Kevin Pillar is the clear leader for the 4th outfield spot (and left fielder until Michael Saunders can play). It would be good for him if he came to camp looking like he is ready to play. So, first at bat, he hits a line drive home run. You couldn't ask for better.
Dalton Pompey's job, this spring, is to look good to make us fans feel ok about him getting the center field job. So his first at bat he singled and stole second. He also made a nice catch in left field (he and Pillar switched spots after a couple of innings). He also lost a ball in the sky, but we'll forgive/ignore that. I don't think he could have made the catch on that.
Other 4th outfield candidates that played were:
- Caleb Gindl who walked and struck out in 2 PA.
- Ezequiel Carrera went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
- Chris Dickerson went 0 for 1 with 2 walks.
Russell Martin made a great defensive play in the first inning. A weak tapper, down the third base line, that he pounced on quick and made a strong spin throw to first. He threw a little wide of first but Justin Smoak made a great catch. Dioner Navarro wouldn't have made that play. He looked as good behind the plate as we were told he would.
Josh Thole. Thole needs to show that he can do the job of backup catcher, convince the team that they can trade Navarro. He had 2 soft singles in 2 at bats. It is up to you if you think that helps his case. At least he made contact twice.
A.J. Jimenez made a great throw to catch a base stealer. I hope, sooner or later, he gets a chance to be backup catcher with the Jays.
Justin Smoak went 0 for 2 with a strikeout, but showed off his glove, making a great catch on Russell's throw to first, while keeping his foot on the bag.
Daric Barton went 1 for 2, hitting a single against a lefty.
Danny Valencia, the likely favorite for the right-handed half of a first base platoon, walked once and struck out once.
There are a few open spots in the pen. Lots of candidates threw yesterday.
- Wilton Lopez impressed me the most, he kept in the strike zone and looked good.
- Miguel Castro allowed just 1 hit in his inning. Man he is skinny. I didn't think he was throwing all out yet, which is smart.
- Steve Delabar gave up 2 hits, a walk, a run and got a strike out. The beat writers said he hit 94 on the radar. He didn't look great but it is early.
- Kyle Drabek didn't impress, but he didn't walk anyone. 2 hits against, including a home run.