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Sports Surprises emerge at Blue Jays camp with Borucki, Grichuk news

20:45  14 february  2020
20:45  14 february  2020 Source:   sportsnet.ca

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a baseball player is getting ready to hit the ball: MLB-Blue-Jays-Borucki-throws-against-Rays© Frank Gunn/CP MLB-Blue-Jays-Borucki-throws-against-Rays

DUNEDIN, Fla. – A couple of surprises emerged at Toronto Blue Jays camp Friday as Ryan Borucki was shut down due to tightness in his left elbow and Randal Grichuk emerged as the favourite to open the season in centre field.

Manager Charlie Montoyo broke the news on Borucki, who missed essentially all of last season due to elbow issues, and added that right-hander Tanner Roark’s arrival was delayed for personal reasons, and that visa issues would keep reliever Rafael Dolis from arriving until Sunday or Monday.

GM Ross Atkins, during a lengthy 20-minute conversation in which he also all but officially named Hyun-Jin Ryu the opening-day starter, then mentioned that Grichuk would slide over from right to centre, essentially flipping spots with Teoscar Hernandez.

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"We’ll stay open-minded about that and this will be an important camp for some other guys that will be in the mix," said Atkins. "But that would be the most likely (scenario)."

Grichuk has played 250 games in centre over his six big-league seasons, 62 of them last year. Under the Defensive Runs Saved metric, which aims to establish how many runs a player saves with his glovework, he’s a plus-14 over 1,988.1 innings, including plus-2 last season.

Part of the club’s thinking is to try and make Hernandez as comfortable as possible in the field to free him up at the plate, where he posted a .939 OPS in the second half of the season.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is locked in at left, while Derek Fisher and Anthony Alford, both out of options, could sway the club’s thinking with big springs, but have work to do on that front.

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"There are several scenarios and we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves but we have a lot of options," said Atkins. "Obviously, Lourdes established himself really well in left field and we feel good about Teoscar Hernandez running around in different positions. He’s continuing to work very hard on his defence. He’s passionate about it. And then we have some other alternatives to be in the mix for our team. Those are the three that are probably the most established and as we sit today, would get the bulk of the playing time."

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As for Borucki, he recently experienced elbow tightness after throwing off the mound after making only two starts last year. He eventually had elbow surgery to remove bone spurs but was expected to be ready for camp.

Both Montoyo and Atkins stressed at this point the Blue Jays are simply being cautious with the young lefty.

"With any pitcher, if they felt some tightness in their elbow at this point of the season, and where we are in the scheme of things," said Atkins, "we would err on the side of caution."

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