Notes: Kay's role, Tellez's tear, protocols

July 11th, 2020

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays’ young pitchers will need to fill a variety of roles in 2020, and got things rolling in the right direction in Friday’s intrasquad game at Rogers Centre.

Kay pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out three on 42 pitches. The starting rotation seems to be fairly set, led by a quartet of veterans in Hyun-Jin Ryu, Matt Shoemaker, Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson, but Kay is one of several young pitchers who've come up as starters but will be considered for a bullpen job, especially with rosters opening at 30 players for the first two weeks of the season.

Some days, that will be a classic relief role. Other days, it could be multiple innings or piggybacking off a starter who isn’t completely built up yet. Either way, Kay is ready.

“It’s something I’m comfortable with," said Kay, who made some relief appearances in college at Connecticut. "I haven’t done it in a couple of years but, ultimately, if that’s what they want me to do on this team to be up with the big league team, I’m willing to do it.”

Kay’s fastball and curveball could play particularly well in shorter bursts, and his aggression might fit the temporary role, too. When Kay made his brief MLB debut in late in 2019, pitching coach Pete Walker and manager Charlie Montoyo both pointed to his ability to challenge hitters inside.

“I’ve always been pretty comfortable going inside to righties and lefties," Kay said. "I feel I’m more comfortable going inside than leaving the ball on the outer half of the plate, so it’s something that I’ve always done my whole life. Pete and Charlie definitely encourage it.”

The other star of Friday’s intrasquad game was , who clearly isn’t bothered by the news of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. moving across the diamond to first base. Tellez launched two home runs -- one to right, one to left -- after homering on Thursday. Tellez will need to keep this up given the new presence of Guerrero at first, especially as rosters are trimmed from 30 to 28 and 26 as the season progresses, but he’s doing a fine job at controlling what he can early in camp.

Martin on his way
The Blue Jays added Austin Martin to their 60-man roster on Friday, meaning their No. 5 overall pick from the 2020 MLB Draft is on his way to Rogers Centre. Speaking Thursday, Martin said he just had the final stage of screening remaining before he could travel to Toronto. Martin won’t see action this season, of course, but this will act as an early development tool for the 21-year-old.

Montoyo addressed club's modified quarantine
The Blue Jays are in Toronto for summer camp on an exemption from the Canadian government, which is why they’re operating under a modified quarantine at Rogers Centre between the hotel and ballpark where they are not permitted to leave the “stadium footprint.”

On Friday, TSN's Scott Mitchell reported players have been told that breaking this quarantine could come with penalties that include a $750,000 fine or potential jail time. This covers their federally approved time in Toronto for Summer Camp, while the regular season is a separate negotiation that is still ongoing.

Addressing the report and comments made by his own players, including Travis Shaw tweeting that “All summer isn’t gonna happen. Not an option,” Montoyo shifted the focus back to his appreciation for the Canadian government allowing his club to train in Toronto. Montoyo insisted that there would be no issue, and that his players are on the same page.

“I’m glad that we’re here,” Montoyo said. “I am glad. And we’re going to follow all the guidelines.”

Exhibitions after all
The Blue Jays opened Summer Camp in Toronto saying that they would play intrasquad games only, with no exhibition games against other clubs. That changed Friday when they announced two games against the Red Sox on July 21 and 22. Both games will be in Boston with 6:30 p.m. ET starts.

From there, the Blue Jays will head to Tampa for Opening Day on July 24.