The very first thing Charlie Montoyo needed to clarify in saying how Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will change over to first base is that every one choices stay open.
For the media experts protecting the staff, Friday’s announcement by the jovial skipper amounted to some seismic occasion, the identical day some grousing may very well be heard on the staff’s self-imposed bubble.
Montoya is within the enterprise of successful and it goes with out saying how his said purpose on this coming 60-game dash of a baseball season is to discipline the very best positional gamers each evening.
Travis Shaw is the presumptive man on the scorching nook with this 12 months’s fifth total choose, Austin Martin, a long-term choice.
“Vladdy is going to focus during this camp at first base,’’ said Montoyo, who patiently and professionally answered every query tossed his way when the mania surrounding baseball’s No. 1 prospect intensified last season with every baseball Tom, Dick and Harry wanting to know when Vladdy would get the call up.
“And we’re going to keep his options open. We’ve been talking about that since spring training before we got shut down. He (Guerrero Jr.) was already taking ground balls at first base with Luis Rivera (Toronto’s first base coach), but then talking to Ross (GM Atkins) and Vladdy, Vladdy feels better doing it.”
For Friday evening’s intra-squad sport, the second by the Jays throughout this camp setting, Vladdy was pencilled in at first base.
Montoya added how Guerrero Jr. would see extra motion at first and DH this season.
“But we’re going to keep third base option open because he can play there, too,’’ the manager said. “For now, for this camp, he’s going to be playing first and probably during the season he’s going to play first and DH.”
Each time Montoyo was requested concerning the causes behind the choice, it turned so apparent, even for neophytes remotely accustomed to the staff.
“It’s all about having the best chance to compete in a shortened season,’’ Montoya continued. “For me, the best chance for Vladdy is to play first, DH and also play third. Knowing Travis Shaw can play third and I’ve seen him, he’s a good third baseman, and that also helps, but this is more about Vladdy and giving him his best chance to succeed in a short season.”
The timing of the change is likely to be questioned contemplating the Jays will open — or not less than are scheduled to pending the pandemic — on July 24 in Tampa.
“It goes back to what I said,’’ Montoyo said. “It’s not going to be quick (turnaround) because he was taking ground balls at first during spring training. And I trust Luis Rivera more than anybody. And when Luis said he was comfortable, that’s why we’re making the decision now.
“We didn’t start this (transition) today. We’ve been talking about it, Ross, me, Vlad, Luis Rivera, about making this move and that’s why we’re doing it now.”
Montoyo would add: “Vladdy is motivated to do it.”
As one would possibly anticipate, Guerrero mentioned all the fitting issues when he addressed the media on a Zoom name, reiterating how he was keen and in a position to do no matter it took to win.
“Whatever the team needs me, I’m going to be ready,’’ the can’t-miss kid said. “I’m OK with that.”
Guerrero Jr. hasn’t been shy in asking teammates for any recommendation on the nuances of enjoying first base, a place that calls for delicate foot work.
“I’m ready for whenever the chance comes,’’ he added.
Guerrero Jr. said how his body feels good and is eagerly awaiting the start of MLB’s truncated season.
He dismissed any thought how the amount of games he played last season at the hot corner led to fatigue down the stretch. The decision to move to first base was one he fully endorsed.
“I just want to win,’’ he added.
Once the Jays wrap up their summer camp and ramp up for their regular season, it’ll be a new experience for Guerrero Jr. and for every other big leaguer.
“It’s going to be different,’’ he said. “Right now, you have to start hot. If you get into a slump you’re going to get into trouble, but just be ready to start the game.”
Guerrero Jr. has been working onerous, however now comes the psychological preparation figuring out an everyday season is about to start.
The time away from his teammates within the wake of the virus allowed Guerrero Jr. to take care of and observe the routine mapped out by energy and conditioning coaches.
“Pretty much the same routine. No big changes,’’ said Guerrero Jr., who returned to his native Dominican Republic when COVID-19 forced baseball to suspend its spring league season.
One can argue how the emerging talent known as Bo Bichette has assumed the mantle as the franchise face of the Jays, which probably suits the kid well given his extraordinary talents and willingness to embrace any challenge.
Bo knows the Jays’ youth has the potential to serve the club well as MLB takes aim on its shortened season.
Be it a standard 162-game slate or the current 60-game model, Bichette’s attitude remains the same, as does his approach.
“Bottom line, we have a lot of really good players in here,” the 22-year-old shortstop mentioned. “Short season, long season, I’ve told you guys (in the media) plenty of times that I think we were going to compete, regardless of 162 or 60.
“I believe in everybody in here. I believe we’re a lot better than people think.”
It’s now as much as Bo’s baseball brethren to observe his lead.
One in every of baseball’s higher feel-good tales to usher within the 2019 season, Matt Shoemaker’s marketing campaign would come to a crushing finish in Oakland because the Jays swept the A’s in a three-game set within the Bay Space.
Because the right-hander left the mound to discipline first base, his knee gave in.
Surgical procedure ensued and Shoemaker, who was in tears contained in the staff’s clubhouse when he addressed the media, by no means did get to pitch one other regular-season sport.
When the Jays gathered within the acquainted environment of their spring coaching house in Dunedin, Shoemaker appeared like he had by no means missed a beat.
Alongside comes the staff’s first intra-squad sport at Summer season Camp being staged at Rogers Centre and instantly baseball’s buzz was again, albeit beneath the backdrop of a pandemic.
“We’re still playing baseball, even though it’s against our team,’’ Shoemaker said. “It is different than playing a different team, but when you’re on the mound and you just have that mentality that you’re going to beat that guy, you’re going to get that guy out, you can still make it pretty similar and game-like to in-season.
“When you can lock it in, I’m battling, me-versus-you right now, just go to battle. Having that mindset just gets us ready for the game and gives us a better chance to win.”
The proper-hander threw 60 pitches, which included 42 strikes.
POSEY TAKES A PASS
San Francisco’s Buster Posey has determined to skip the season, informing reporters how his household not too long ago adopted twin ladies who had been born prematurely.
“After weighing it for a long time, talking to doctors, I just feel like in the current state that we are right now and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months, at minimum, this ultimately wasn’t that difficult a decision for me,” mentioned Posey, a six-time all-star catcher and three-time World Sequence champ.
The Giants, in a launched assertion, mentioned they “fully support Buster’s decision.”
The assertion went on to learn: “Buster is an integral part of our team and will be sorely missed, but we look forward to having him back in 2021.”
L.A. Angels famous person Mike Trout not too long ago mentioned how he’s feeling uncomfortable and unsure about enjoying as he and his spouse await the arrival of the couple’s son.
The Jays introduced they are going to be in Beantown for a two-game set in opposition to the host Purple Sox, July 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m., the one two pre-season video games Toronto will get beneath its belt earlier than opening pitch will get formally thrown in MLB’s 60-game common season.
No phrase but on the place the Jays will play their house video games.
The feds paved the way in which for the membership to make use of Rogers Centre and the adjoining lodge to arrange summer season store.
If the staff can’t play its regular-season video games in Toronto, essentially the most logical choice is for the staff to return to its spring coaching house in Dunedin.
There have been 66 optimistic assessments of the virus throughout the consumption screening course of, MLB and its gamers’ union introduced Friday.
The quantity contains 58 gamers and eight employees members out of three,748 samples examined, a price of 1.8%.
There was not less than one optimistic take a look at from 27 of the 30 groups.