Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Extra work pays off for Drury, Tellez

@baseballexis
July 4, 2019

TORONTO -- Long before the Blue Jays were scheduled to stretch and batting practice was set to begin on Wednesday afternoon, Brandon Drury and Rowdy Tellez were on the field at Rogers Centre getting in extra swings during an early round of BP. It’s a sight often seen this season,

TORONTO -- Long before the Blue Jays were scheduled to stretch and batting practice was set to begin on Wednesday afternoon, Brandon Drury and Rowdy Tellez were on the field at Rogers Centre getting in extra swings during an early round of BP.

It’s a sight often seen this season, as the two players -- among a number of others -- have added work to their already-lofty Major League loads in an attempt to find some consistency.

Though it might be too early to know if the work could pay long-term dividends, it appeared to at least have an effect on Wednesday night. Drury’s three hits -- including a go-ahead homer -- and Tellez’s pair of knocks and two runs scored helped the Blue Jays to a 6-3 win over the reigning World Series champion Red Sox.

Box score

“It’s awesome to see,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “For me, and actually for all the coaches. It’s awesome to see Brandon Drury had a good game, and … now it seems like everybody in the lineup is having a good approach at the plate, it’s why we’re scoring so many runs now. There are no outs in the lineup right now. Everyone is having good at-bats.”

Before Wednesday’s contest -- one that also featured homers from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Danny Jansen -- neither Drury nor Tellez was focused on anything in particular during their early work, other than doing exactly what eventually came to fruition in the win.

“Just getting into a good position to hit, get a good pitch to hit and hit the ball hard,” Drury said. “I try to keep it as simple as I can. … I think every time you put in work, it’s going to help in the long run. It’s been a tough run for me the last couple weeks, but it’s a long season.”

Drury’s blast, his seventh of the season, was the decisive blow in the matchup. The two-run shot in the sixth inning was the icing on the cake to his three-hit day, adding a single and a double. Ahead of Wednesday’s win, the 26-year-old right fielder had batted .106/.208/.106 in 16 games over the last four weeks, with five singles and two RBIs in 53 plate appearances.

“It’s part of the game,” Drury said of finding consistency. “You’ve got to hit to stay in there and be an everyday guy. So I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to get my work in, and go out when that game starts and just square up the baseball. So that’s on me.”

Tellez doubled to left in his first at-bat against Red Sox southpaw Chris Sale, and the left-handed hitter singled to right field later in the matchup. He added a walk and two runs scored.

“I’m sticking with the same routine and doing what’s comfortable for me,” Tellez said of his early work. “Today it was just making sure I was able to stay on the back side long enough and not pull off some balls.

“Some of the balls I was rolling over down the line, but there were some that I was hitting pretty well to centre field and right-centre and not hooking them. That’s the focus, trying to stay in the big part of the field.”

That’s exactly what the 24-year-old first baseman was able to do. Though Tellez believes the work that happens before the game starts really just comes down to how he feels by the time the first pitch is thrown.

“There are days where you’ll take really bad BP and have a really good game, or there are days you’ll take really good BP and have a really good game,” Tellez said.

“That machine’s pretty consistent to where it’s going to be every time and you know when you’re facing Chris Sale -- he’s one of the best pitchers in the game -- he’s probably not going to throw it down the middle every time. So there’s a lot that goes into it, but definitely feeling good going into a game is ideal.”

Tellez and Drury have both been in and out of the lineup this season as their manager tries to play the matchups, get everyone playing time, and capitalize on those with hot bat. They understand their roles are what they make them.

“My role is just to help as much as I can,” Tellez said. “Coming off the bench to pinch-hit, going out and playing first when [Justin] Smoak needs a day off, just filling a role that whatever they want me to do is something I’m able to do.”

Added Drury: “Come to the park and help the team win every day. Wherever I’ve got to play, I’ll play, and hopefully I’ll put together some good at-bats -- like tonight -- more consistently.”

Alexis Brudnicki is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @baseballexis.