Giles and Paulino have heated exchange
Vlad Jr. reassigned to Minors; Rule changes announced
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Closer Ken Giles and right-hander David Paulino got into a heated exchange during an on-field drill prior to Thursday afternoon's game against the Yankees.
Giles appeared to take exception to Paulino's lack of effort and participation in a fielding drill near the first-base area. He let Paulino know he had some issues by unloading an expletive-laden rant on the 25-year-old.
The exchange was picked up by a live broadcast of a local Toronto radio station, and also witnessed by multiple reporters in the area. Giles left the park before the media was able to speak with him, but manager Charlie Montoyo tried to calm the waters by stating everything was fine.
"Believe me, I’ve been around the game for a long time," Montoyo said. "That happens. I kind of like it, to tell you the truth. There was a disagreement and now they’re fine. That happens, it’s all good. I talked to both of them and it’s all good."
Giles initially was scheduled to pitch in Friday's 1-1 tie to the Yankees, but he was pushed back another day because Montoyo said he was battling the flu earlier in the week. Giles has made four appearances so far this spring, and has allowed five runs (four earned) on three hits with five walks over 2 2/3 innings.
"He was kind of behind a little bit, so he felt like he needed another day to regroup," Montoyo said. "He's pitching [Friday]."
Vlad goes down
The Blue Jays officially reassigned top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Minor League camp on Thursday afternoon. Guerrero has been ruled out for the rest of Spring Training because of a strained oblique muscle. He will continue his rehab on the Minor League side and likely will begin the year with a rehab assignment for Class A Advanced Dunedin.
Once Guerrero is deemed healthy and ready to start the year, he will begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo. From there it should be a short stint with the Bisons, as a promotion to the big league level could become realistic as early as late April.
For now, the Blue Jays are sticking to the projected three-week timetable, which was established earlier this week.
"I hope so," Montoyo said. "He’s doing good so far, but you never know with these injuries. As far as I know, hopefully in three weeks, yeah."
Time for a change
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players' Association announced a slew of rule changes on Thursday morning that will be implemented over the next two years.
Changes that will go into effect for the 2019 season include inning breaks being reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games, and from 2:25 to 2:00 for national games. The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five. The Trade Deadline will remain July 31, but trade waivers will be eliminated and a slew of adjustments were made to the All-Star Game, including how fans select players and a new $1 million prize for the winner of the Home Run Derby.
Rule changes that will go into effect in 2020 include the active roster expanding from 25 to 26 for all regular-season games prior to Sept. 1. The 40-man-roster limit will be eliminated in September, and all clubs must carry 28 players on the active roster from the first of that month until the end of the year.
One change that might have one of the biggest impacts is that starting pitchers and all relievers must pitch to either a minimum of three batters, or until the end of a half inning.