Notes: Schedule changes; Vladdy adapting

Bichette, Grichuk remain day to day

July 29th, 2020

Another scheduling change came on Wednesday for the Blue Jays, who are quickly getting comfortable with the unexpected.

Toronto’s upcoming series against the Phillies was supposed to begin on Friday, but that game has been pushed back to be part of a traditional doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch of Game 1 is still scheduled for 3:07 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park. The Blue Jays will serve as the home team for this series as originally scheduled.

With Hyun Jin Ryu making his second start of the season on Thursday, that would push Matt Shoemaker’s regular day back to Saturday. Toronto could also use its group of young starters in the bullpen -- Anthony Kay, Thomas Hatch, Ryan Borucki and Jacob Waguespack -- to help cover some of those innings in the doubleheader.

This change comes after the Blue Jays’ search for a home stadium went right up to Opening Day, before the club eventually settled on Buffalo. That came with its own batch of scheduling adjustments, too, so this isn’t exactly new or jarring to any of the players.

Different players will adapt in different ways, but most have leaned into the challenge and accepted the reality. Veteran starter Tanner Roark has embraced it openly, and he is trying to frame it as something the Blue Jays can rally around instead of treating it as a disadvantage.

“We’re going to be known as grinders, and I love grinders,” Roark said. “That’s what makes you who you are in the end of your career or at the end of the day. I think it’s going to build a lot of camaraderie.”

The nature of this season means that a good clubhouse might be more valuable than ever. That starts with the young core and extends to the veteran additions who have been brought in to help.

“We’re all together here. We have a tight group,” Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. said. “We go out there really happy and we want to compete every day. The pitching staff improved a lot in the last year -- the entire rotation and bullpen. As an offense, we don’t feel like we need to score tons of runs and we’re feeling good about it right now."

Vladdy goes to school at DH
With days as the designated hitter built in for Guerrero this season, including two of his first five games, he’s sought out the advice from an impressive list of former players who know the role well. That group includes David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez and former Blue Jays star -- and current White Sox slugger -- Edwin Encarnación. Their suggestions have shaped how Guerrero approaches those days, especially in between at-bats.

“Stay warm the entire game and stay focused on the game and pitchers -- the way they're throwing, locations, everything,” Guerrero said.

On Tuesday at Nationals Park, Guerrero broke through with his first home run of the season and his first in 138 plate appearances, stretching back to Aug. 22.

Pearson official, Moran out
The Blue Jays optioned lefty Brian Moran to their alternate training site on Wednesday and added him to their taxi squad to make room for Nate Pearson ahead of the top prospect's big league debut.

• There was no further update Wednesday on closer Ken Giles, who is seeking a second opinion on his strained right forearm.

• Bo Bichette (left hamstring tightness) and Randal Grichuk (back tightness) remain day to day, but neither injury is considered serious.

• Chase Anderson threw three innings in a sim game Wednesday and “looked really good,” according to manager Charlie Montoyo.