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Blue Jays inch past Phillies in spring training opener

Newcomers paved the way to the win in Toronto’s first spring training game.

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays Curtis Granderson celebrates after hitting a homer against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a Spring Training baseball game at Dunedin Stadium.
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

For the majority of the Toronto Blue Jays’ offseason, the front office’s inaction was the subject of complaint. The team didn’t sign a major-league free agent until mid-January, and even then, the fruit of that addition was Curtis Granderson, a 36-year-old fourth outfielder whose career was over, according to some analysts.

But in Friday afternoon’s spring training opener at the newly-renamed Dunedin Stadium, it was Granderson who led the charge in Toronto’s 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Granderson, batting leadoff as the starting designated hitter, hit a home run, kicking off the Blue Jays’ two-run first inning, which was all the team would need for victory.

Randal Grichuk, with a walk as the third batter in the inning, scored later on an Aledmys Diaz single.

Granderson, Grichuk and Diaz? All additions of this most recent offseason.

Two Blue Jay pitching free agent additions, Craig Breslow and Al Alberquerque -- both signed on minor-league deals -- contributed an inning each, both allowing a hit but nothing more. Joe Biagini, who started the game as part of an early-season effort to stretch out the pitcher, pitched two innings and gave up only one hit.

The Blue Jays’ newcomers, along with Rowdy Tellez and Luke Maile, beat up on Philadelphia starter Nick Pivetta, drawing four hits, a walk and two earned runs in two innings.

Toronto’s next battle in their extended spring training comes tomorrow, when they play the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium with a start time of 1:05 ET. Danny Barnes is set to start for the Blue Jays, with Jordan Zimmerman pitching for the Tigers.

To utilize the cliche, only time will tell if Toronto’s newcomers continue to reap rewards and make a significant in spring training and the regular season. Even if they don’t, two positives can be taken out of this game:

The Blue Jays won and baseball is back. For good.

Find Mark on Twitter @MarkColley. He can be contacted at