Blue Jays set for spring opener vs. Tigers
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The monotonous routine of daily workouts has come to an end and the Blue Jays are set to open their Grapefruit League season with a game against the Tigers on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Right-hander Brandon Morrow will take the mound for one inning, and he is expected to be followed by the likes of Brad Lincoln, Steve Delabar and Esmil Rogers.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie will lead the way for the position players on the road trip to nearby Lakeland. Also joining him will be Adam Lind, J.P. Arencibia, Emilio Bonifacio, Maicer Izturis and others.
"I'm optimistic how it will all fit together, but like the fans, I want to see them all playing together and get excited about it," manager John Gibbons said Friday afternoon.
"Early on they won't all be playing together every day, we'll be staggering the days a little bit, and then of course a few of them are leaving for the [World Baseball Classic]. But the last couple of weeks we'll have them all out there mostly everyday, and then that's when we'll really see what we've got."
The Blue Jays will play 34 exhibition this games this spring, including two that are set to take place in Philadelphia from March 29-30. From there, they'll travel to Toronto for the start of the regular season on April 2 versus the Indians.
There aren't many jobs up for grabs this spring. There are a pair of vacancies in the bullpen and the starting job at second base is up for grabs, but besides that it's more about getting ready for the start of the year without any complications. Gibbons said he doesn't plan to get in the way.
"The veteran guys, you don't have to worry about them. They're on our program, but they monitor themselves," Gibbons said. "We'll check with them and see if they need to back off, we'll back off. You just want to be ready for Opening Day."