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Saturday Bantering: First Spring Game

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Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

We have the first real (fake) game of the spring. I don’t remember who first called these fake games, but I still like it.

The Blue Jays have taken a lot of the regulars to Tampa to play the Yankees. An unusual thing for early spring. Usually the regulars get to stay and get their work in at Dunedin. But I guess most of our regulars aren’t really veterans, so they don’t get to play that card.

Trent Thornton gets the ‘start’. He’s like go just an inning or two.

Today's Lineups

Bo Bichette - SS DJ LeMahieu - 2B
Cavan Biggio - 2B Gleyber Torres - SS
Lourdes Gurriel - DH Gio Urshela - 3B
Vladimir Guerrero - 3B Mike Ford - 1B
Rowdy Tellez - 1B Clint Frazier - LF
Randal Grichuk - CF Kyle Higashioka - C
Teoscar Hernandez - RF Erik Kratz - DH
Derek Fisher - LF Rosell Herrera - RF
Danny Jansen - C Zack Granite - CF

I’m not going to be around for the game today, or at least not for the start of the game. But it is on Sportsnet One (with the Yankees’ broadcast team). I really would like Sportsnet to let us in on who is going to be in the broadcast booth this year. If you are watching, use this as a game thread.

Kaitlyn McGrath has a profile of Lourdes Gurriel. Normal spring stuff, but always good to hear that a player expects to be the best.

“He’s got the ability to be one of the best left fielders in the league, we’ll put it that way,” Blue Jays outfield coach Mark Budzinski said. “His athleticism, the way he runs, the routes he has the ability to take, the way he throws, when you put all that together. And part of winning a Gold Glove is swinging the bat, you still got to be in there every day, right? And he’s got that ability, too.”

Rob Longley, in the Sun, has a profile of Nate Pearson.

There was no radar gun recording Nate Pearson’s first live batting practice session here on Friday afternoon, but with the heat that was being discharged from his highly touted right arm, there was no need for one.

Instead, the looks on the faces of Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez and Vlad Guerrero Jr. told you all you needed to know about the velocity of the great Blue Jays starting pitching hope known as Big Nate.

Again it is one of those early spring feel good stories, but then I like early spring feel good stories.

When I was a kid I read everything I could about Satchel Paige. He seemed to be such an interesting part of baseball history. He pitched for 17 years in the Negro Leagues and then made it to the majors. He was 41 in his MLB rookie season. He pitched for five seasons in the majors. Then, 12 years after he last pitched in the majors, he was signed by the Kansas City Athletics, at age 58. He only pitched in one game there.

Then in 1968 he signed with the Atlanta Braves, at age 61. The reason for the signing was to get Satchel enough service time to get an MLB pension. The Undefeated has the story here.

Satchel Paige reached out to the 20 Major League Baseball teams about the prospect of joining them in 1968. The 62-year-old pitcher needed only 158 days on an active roster to reach the five-year minimum required to receive his pension.

Nineteen teams turned him down, but on Aug. 12, 1968, Atlanta Braves president William C. Bartholomay signed the star player as a part-time pitcher and an adviser. The New York Times noted that Paige, a 17-year Negro Leagues veteran and the oldest rookie (42) to play in the majors, was “still without any trace of gray in his hair” at the news conference announcing the signing.

It is a great story. A baseball team looking after one of the greats.