Blue Jays bring double trouble for first spring win

Pillar plates run on one of three club two-baggers, plays superb D; Stroman sets stingy tone

Blue Jays bring double trouble for first spring win

BRADENTON, FLA. -- Dalton Pompey, Kevin Pillar and Dioner Navarro all had doubles as the Blue Jays came away with a 4-1 victory over the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon at McKechnie Field.

Pittsburgh's lone run came in the second inning, when Jordy Mercer scored on a wild pitch by left-hander Rob Rasmussen. Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman was charged with the unearned run, and Pirates right-handed starter Gerrit Cole allowed one run over his two innings with three strikeouts.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sense of calm accompanies Stroman in camp

Blue Jays righty pitching with less pressure, more confidence; development of sinker key

Sense of calm accompanies Stroman in camp

BRADENTON, Fla. -- There are almost zero similarities between the version of Marcus Stroman that reported to Spring Training last year and the one he appears to be in 2015.

Stroman arrived last February looking to take the world by storm in his first big league camp, but by doing so, he probably put too much pressure on himself. He was trying to do too much, and when the results didn't go his way, there was visible disappointment on the field and in the clubhouse.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays keeping open mind about closer situation

Cecil, Sanchez sharing the role is one option on the table as club feels out possibilities

Blue Jays keeping open mind about closer situation

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are still at least a couple of weeks away from making a decision on their closer situation, but there's a scenario where both Brett Cecil and Aaron Sanchez could share the role.

Toronto has remained rather non-committal on the issue, which would seem to indicate the position is still in a state of flux. During various parts of his media availability Wednesday, manager John Gibbons dismissed the notion of a bullpen-by-committee approach but also talked about the benefits of not having one defined guy in the role.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

MLB Pipeline checks in from Blue Jays camp

Spring Training an opportunity to take inventory of revitalized system

MLB Pipeline checks in from Blue Jays camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Toronto Blue Jays.

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- In just two trades -- one with the Marlins that involved Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, and one with the Mets that brought in R.A. Dickey -- the Blue Jays emptied a large portion of the Minor League cupboard. In a short period of time, however, they have done a good job restocking the shelves, to the point where they have one of the best systems in baseball.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pillar flashes power, but Sanchez greeted harshly

Fill-in outfielder connects on two-run shot as Blue Jays' rally falls short

Pillar flashes power, but Sanchez greeted harshly

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- After Pedro Alvarez got the Pirates off to a fast start with a home run off Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez, new shortstop Jung Ho Kang connected on his first homer in Pittsburgh's 8-7 win on Tuesday.

Alvarez's shot to left came with a pair of runners on in the first inning. Right fielder Gregory Polanco started the rally with a two-out single, and Starling Marte then reached base on a fielding error by Josh Donaldson.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Top 15 fantasy rookies led by pair of Cubs

Bryant, Soler have most potential for big league production in 2015

Top 15 fantasy rookies led by pair of Cubs

Good news, Cubs fans. The last three times your favorite team has featured the National League Rookie of the Year Award winner (Geovany Soto in 2008, Kerry Wood in 1998 and Jerome Walton in '89), it has advanced to the postseason. And Chicago has the top two rookie candidates for 2015.

Third baseman Kris Bryant and outfielder Jorge Soler have the power to help the Cubs back to the playoffs for the first time in seven years. They're not only the strongest candidates for Rookie of the Year Award honors, they're also the best fantasy prospects.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wells excited to work with up-and-coming Pompey

Former All-Star center fielder can relate to Blue Jays prospect's situation

Wells excited to work with up-and-coming Pompey

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- If there's anyone who knows what Dalton Pompey must be going through in his first full Spring Training with the Blue Jays, it's Vernon Wells.

Wells advanced through three levels of the Minor Leagues before making his debut at 20 years old. Once there, he was saddled with all the pressure and expectation that goes along with being a future cornerstone of the organization.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seeking late-inning job, Delabar back to basics

Seeking late-inning job, Delabar back to basics

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Steve Delabar finds himself in the unusual position of having to compete for a roster spot after two years when he was essentially guaranteed a job coming out of camp.

Pitchers without guaranteed jobs in Spring Training often have to walk a fine line. On one hand, they may need to work on a particular pitch or specific location, even if that means sacrificing some initial results. On the other, those same pitchers need to impress the many eyes that will be watching them in camp.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

For Sanchez, results a mere afterthought

Fireballer pleased with performance despite unsightly stat line

For Sanchez, results a mere afterthought

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Results are an afterthought during the opening weeks of Spring Training, and that was pretty evident following Aaron Sanchez's first outing of the year.

Sanchez consistently hit 96-97 mph on his fastball and made a point of working on his secondary pitches. The most important thing was that he felt good and was able to repeat his delivery.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays pitcher snags sharp comebacker

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Blue Jays pitcher snags sharp comebacker

Sanchez made the first out of the first inning of the first Jays Spring Training game by snagging a comebacker like his glove was magnetically attracted to it. Sorry, baseball, you can't sneak up on Sanchez -- he already knows you're back.

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Buehrle among Blue Jays to get work in intrasquad game

Buehrle among Blue Jays to get work in intrasquad game

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays put the finishing touches on their preparation for the Grapefruit League season by holding an intrasquad game on Monday morning.

Team Gray defeated Team Blue, 1-0, in a matchup that featured a solo home run by prospect Mitch Nay. Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson barely missed a home run of his own with a shot off left-hander Mark Buehrle that easily cleared the fence but went foul by a foot or two.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rolen to bring expertise to Nay at Blue Jays camp

Former All-Star will help Toronto's No. 7 prospect progress at third base

Rolen to bring expertise to Nay at Blue Jays camp

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are planning to bring in Scott Rolen later this week to work with prized prospect Mitch Nay.

Rolen's arrival date hasn't been confirmed, but he's expected to arrive within the next few days. The former All-Star is set to work with Nay on his fielding at third base and possibly his hitting as well.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays announce November fantasy camp

Six-day event to take place in Tampa with Toronto alumni Alomar, Barfield, others

Blue Jays announce November fantasy camp

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are offering fans an opportunity to participate in a fantasy camp with some of their favorite alumni from Nov. 15-20.

Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, Kelly Gruber, George Bell, Lloyd Moseby, Jesse Barfield, Homer Bush, Duane Ward, Alex Gonzalez and other players to be named will be participating alongside fans during the six-day event.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pillar: Whatever Blue Jays need, I'm here to help

Outfielder also influenced by Bautista, incorporating leg kick at plate

Pillar: Whatever Blue Jays need, I'm here to help

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Dalton Pompey entered Spring Training as the favorite to become the starting center fielder on Opening Day but fellow outfielder Kevin Pillar still has his eyes on the job.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently admitted that Pompey has the inside track but stressed the club is still keeping an open mind. Pillar remains in the mix but with Michael Saunders expected to be out until mid-April there's also an opportunity in left.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays sign Viciedo to Minor League deal

Outfielder had been released by White Sox in February

Blue Jays sign Viciedo to Minor League deal

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays officially signed free agent Dayan Viciedo to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Sunday morning.

Viciedo will earn $2.5 million if he makes the roster out of camp, but there have been no guarantees about his role within the organization. The contract doesn't include an opt-out clause, however there's an understanding that Viciedo will be moved if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Saunders moving forward after knee surgery

Outfielder says "it was in my best interest" to remove 60% of his meniscus

Saunders moving forward after knee surgery

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders wants to make one thing clear: He was the one who decided the best course of action was to remove 60 percent of the meniscus from his left knee.

Saunders underwent surgery on Friday afternoon, and the fact that his meniscus was removed instead of repaired means he'll return in approximately five-to-six weeks. If the doctor had fixed the cartilage, Saunders would have been out until the All-Star break.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johan looks to complete comeback in Toronto

Two-time Cy Young Award winner will compete for fifth spot in rotation

Johan looks to complete comeback in Toronto

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Despite everything two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana has been through over the years, he hasn't given up the dream of returning to Major League Baseball.

Santana has been forced to deal with a seemingly endless list of injuries and surgeries dating all the way back to 2010. There have been issues with his left shoulder, ankle, Achilles' and he hasn't even pitched in the big leagues since 2012. But there has never been any questioning his desire.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Valencia expected to get time in outfield

Valencia expected to get time in outfield

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The fact that Michael Saunders is expected to return in April, instead of the All-Star break, hasn't changed the Blue Jays' plans for Danny Valencia.

The Blue Jays are expected to give Valencia some reps in left field during Spring Training. It's a position he has never played before in the Major Leagues, but the club would like to increase his versatility off the bench.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays forced to work inside

Blue Jays forced to work inside

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays' on-field workouts were cancelled on Saturday morning because of severe rain and a thunderstorm that went through the Central Florida region.

Toronto had been expecting to take live batting practice for the second consecutive day, but instead hitters were forced to get their work in at the indoor batting cages.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Saunders' prognosis improves to 5-6 weeks

Outfielder has knee surgery after getting hurt stepping on patch of grass around sprinkler head

Saunders' prognosis improves to 5-6 weeks

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders underwent left knee surgery on Friday afternoon and he's expected to be out of action for approximately five to six weeks.

Saunders originally was expected to be out until the All-Star break but that was under the assumption that the cartilage could be repaired and not removed. Dr. Steven Mirabello performed the procedure and determined that 60 percent of the meniscus could not be fixed, and as a result it had to be taken out.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bautista excited about additions to clubhouse

All-Star outfielder has high expectations after a busy offseason for Toronto

Bautista excited about additions to clubhouse

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista gave a ringing endorsement to the additions Toronto made during the offseason on Friday afternoon. He suggested that the incoming players are "maybe an uptick or two more competitive than some guys who have been here in the past."

Bautista's comments came on the day the Blue Jays officially opened camp with their first full-squad workout. Grapefruit League games are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, and by the sounds of it, Bautista is expecting big things following the offseason additions of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Anthopoulos sees upside in Johan signing

Anthopoulos sees upside in Johan signing

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays don't expect two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to be ready for the start of the regular season. But he's going to have an opportunity to compete for a starting job in the not-so-distant future.

Toronto signed Santana to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Thursday night. He'll likely arrive in Dunedin late Friday, and will have to undergo a physical before officially joining camp at some point this weekend.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays announce starters for Spring Training games

Blue Jays announce starters for Spring Training games

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker has mapped out the starting pitchers for the club's first five games in Spring Training.

Rookie right-hander Aaron Sanchez will get the start in Toronto's opener of the Grapefruit League season on Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh. He will be followed in the rotation by Marcus Stroman, Daniel Norris, R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Hal Bodley

Blue Jays have the look of a postseason team

Blue Jays have the look of a postseason team

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- At about 1:30 ET on Thursday afternoon Michael Saunders hobbled out of the Blue Jays' clubhouse, his crutches shiny new and the huge brace on his left leg just out of the box.

Saunders, obtained from the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 3 to play left field for the recast Blue Jays, tore the meniscus in his knee jogging after a fly ball in the outfield Wednesday and will be lost until the All-Star break in mid-July.

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Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. Follow him @halbodley on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johan signs Minor League deal with Blue Jays

Johan signs Minor League deal with Blue Jays

Johan Santana is back in baseball as the Blue Jays signed the two-time Cy Young Award winner to a Minor League contract on Thursday.

Santana injured his shoulder in 2013 and hasn't pitched in the Majors since '12.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With Saunders out, left field open to competition

Pillar, Dirks, Carrera, Dickerson in running

With Saunders out, left field open to competition

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays entered Spring Training with competitions at second base, center field, closer and the rotation. They can now add left field to that list.

Starting outfielder Michael Saunders sustained a torn meniscus in his left knee while shagging fly balls Wednesday and is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Encarnacion likely to play more first base than DH

Blue Jays slugger worked on defensive skills, training in offseason

Encarnacion likely to play more first base than DH

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Edwin Encarnacion said he is ready for whatever role the Blue Jays have planned for him, whether it's at first base or in the designated-hitter spot.

Encarnacion reported to Spring Training after undergoing a physical Thursday morning. All position players were required to be in attendance in advance of the first official workout Friday.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After missing '14, Dirks close to resuming baseball activities

After missing '14, Dirks close to resuming baseball activities

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays outfielder Andy Dirks is expected to resume baseball activities in approximately seven to 10 days as he continues to recover from a back injury that kept him out for the 2014 season.

Dirks underwent back surgery last March and also dealt with a hamstring injury that limited him to 14 rehab games. He signed a Minor League contract during the offseason and isn't taking part in big league camp.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.