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Today in Jays History: J.P. Arencibia Homers Twice in his MLB Debut

Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

13 years ago today

The Blue Jays beat the Rays 17-7.

The Blue Jays hit eight home runs in this game: Two by Aaron Hill, one each from Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Lyle Overbay.

And, of course, two by J.A. Arencibia. J.P. was playing in his first MLB game. He would go 4 for 5, with a double, to accompany the homers.

The future was looking bright.

From the recap:

A good way to start your major league career: The first pitch you see, you hit out. Second time up a double. Then single. Fourth time up, another homer. He ended the day with a fly-out. 11 total bases. 3 runs, 3 RBI. I think we ought to keep J.P. Arencibia. It would be tough not to write his name in the lineup every day after this, but I’m sure Cito will find a way.

J.P. would start 9 of our remaining 52 games. But he would hit .143/.189/.343 in 37 P.A. that season. He wouldn’t get a hit in 15 at-bats in September. I wonder how different his career would have been if Cito had some faith in him and had him play regularly after that first game. When a young player only plays occasionally, sometimes they think they have to be great every time out there. It is a tough way to start a career. I’m thankful that John is, at last so far, letting Davis Schneider play.

Also, from the recap:

Arencibia is just the 3rd Blue Jay to start his career with a home run. Alvis Woods and Junior Felix were the other 2. Great to see that when they tried to interview J.P., he got shaving cream, had 2 buckets of Gatorade poured on him and got shaving cream again. Please, Cito, play him tomorrow.

As you know, now there are four Blue Jays who started their career with a home run.

Cito didn’t play J.P. the next day.

There was a tweet by Jordan Bastian saying that, since 1900, no other player had 4 hits and 2 home runs in his MLB debut.

As you know, J.P.’s career didn’t go the way we hoped. He had a problem with breaking balls and never learned to control the strike zone. He would end his career with 85 walks and 484 strikeouts.

He was a Blue Jay for four seasons, hitting .212/.258/.408 with 64 home runs in 380 games.

After the Jays, he played 62 games for the Rangers in 2014 (primarily at first base) and 24 games for the Rays in 2015.

His defence was always a work in progress, he had a decent arm, throwing out 27% of base stealers in his career, but he allowed a share of passed balls and wild pitches. If he had hit, we would have been okay with his defence, but he didn’t. He was good with fans and kids.

This isn’t presented as a cautionary tale for Davis Schneider.

Other performances of note:

Travis Snider led off and was 2 for 2 with 2 walks.

Yunel Escobar went 3 for 6.

Bautista hit his 34th home run, leading the A.L.

Edwin Encarnacion went 3 for 5 and made his 10th error of the season.

On the pitching side:

Brad Mills started and gave up 5 runs in 4 innings.

Brian Tallet pitched 3 innings of relief, getting the win, allowing 2 unearned runs.

Jason Frasor pitched a scoreless inning.

David Purcey started the 9th, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks, getting just 1 out.

Casey Janssen got the last 2 outs of the game, giving up a hit and a walk and allowing both of his inherited runs to score.