Culture of Hoops

Toronto Blue Jays Building the Flock

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

In Dunedin, Florida no fewer than 32 pitchers and 9 catchers were given medical exams in preparation for official spring training workouts for the Toronto Blue Jays. By Friday, a roster of 65 individuals will be amassed in preparation for the Grapefruit League exhibition games that are scheduled to begin on March 3rd. The Jays first contest will be against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Toronto is looking to find good fits for a number of pitching spots including a fifth starter and bullpen support. The fielding also sports a myriad of potential position battles in centerfield, second base, first base, and backup catcher as all have no certainty at the current time. Yet even with all the holes there is optimism for the Jays in Toronto and within the team’s own clubhouse as well.

This line-up is absolutely ridiculous,” says Michael Saunders on MLB Network Radio this week. “I’m really excited to be a part of this line-up. I feel like there’s a lot I can learn from these guys.” Saunders, an outfielder and native Canadian, came to the Jays this offseason in a trade that involved pitcher J.A. Happ. Along with Saunders, newcomers Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson (who finished eighth in the 2014 American League MVP vote) should add a level of depth to the batting order that the Jays haven’t seen in some time.

The likely batting order at the current time is as follows:

1. Jose Reyes (SS)
2. Josh Donaldson (3B)
3. Jose Bautista (LF)
4. Edwin Encarnacion (DH)
5. Russell Martin (C)
6. Michael Saunders (RF)
7. Justin Smoak (1B)
8. Maicer Izturis (2B)
9. Dalton Pompey (CF)

Saunders continued, “If everyone just plays their game, we can hit one through nine… There’s always going to be somebody on base and there’s always a threat for someone to put one out of the park… This is by far the best line-up I’ve ever been a part of and I’m excited.”

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