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Blue Jays value seasoning gained in Minors

Organization has no plan to push Guerrero, Bichette to Majors quickly
Special to MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette have been impressive in Blue Jays camp this spring -- not only because of their last names. Guerrero, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the game's No. 3 overall prospect and Toronto's No. 1, will celebrate his father's induction into the Hall of Fame this summer; Bichette, Toronto's No. 2 prospect, is the son of former big leaguer Dante Bichette. The pair could make up the left side of the Blue Jays' infield at some point in the future.

Some are calling for that point to be sooner rather than later, but the Blue Jays are recommending patience.

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette have been impressive in Blue Jays camp this spring -- not only because of their last names. Guerrero, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the game's No. 3 overall prospect and Toronto's No. 1, will celebrate his father's induction into the Hall of Fame this summer; Bichette, Toronto's No. 2 prospect, is the son of former big leaguer Dante Bichette. The pair could make up the left side of the Blue Jays' infield at some point in the future.

Some are calling for that point to be sooner rather than later, but the Blue Jays are recommending patience.

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Spring Training: Info | Gear

Bichette just turned 20 and was a second-round pick in 2016, while Guerrero is even younger, having turned 19 last Friday. Both advanced to Class A Advanced Dunedin last season.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"They are very good, talented ballplayers, no doubt," said Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale, the acting manager in Friday's 6-5 loss to the Rays. "They've got a bright future. … On a whole, when you're looking at what this organization has done and the time that they've required, it's pretty good, and those two are definitely special. It takes us to keep them on the right path as well."

Which means developing patience.

"They move up when they conquer each level -- that's the simple [answer]," Hale said. "They have yet to get to Double-A. They have yet to play Triple-A. So they need to conquer those levels and [work] through the adjustment that is going to happen to young, good players. You start playing better talent.

Video: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. named No. 3 prospect

"At some point, the experience and what you gain climbing the system, it pays benefits for you when you become a Major League player: How do you go about your life every day? The preparation? Those are some of the things that are very important. It's 162 games. How many games have they played in a year? Minor leagues, you usually play 140. Are we sustaining 160, 171 into the playoffs? "How do you play tired?

"They'll get there when their time comes, when they show that there's a development and they are a big league player that can sustain a full season or fit a role in the big leagues."

Video: TOR@PIT: Bichette slugs a two-run homer for the lead

Oh, it's Happ-ening

Left-hander J.A. Happ worked four scoreless innings, including a six-pitch third, in Friday's game. He allowed two hits, with one walk and one strikeout. It was Happ's fifth and final spring start before his scheduled Opening Day start against the visiting Yankees in Toronto next Thursday. Happ will continue to work out in Dunedin when the team leaves on Sunday for two exhibition games in Montreal.

Video: Gibbons names Happ Opening Day starter for Blue Jays

"I have one extra day in between, so I'll pitch on the sixth day instead of the fifth," Happ said. "Then I'll throw a bullpen [session] in between there and do all my regular work and try to feel as good as I can for that outing."

It will be Happ's first Opening Day start as he enters his 12th big league season.

This and that

• Christian Williams hit a three-run homer, his first of the spring, in the top of the ninth inning to give Toronto a short-lived one-run lead.

Steve Pearce played left field for five defensive innings and batted fourth, going 1-for-3. It was his second set of back-to-back games after being sidelined earlier in camp by a calf strain.

Randal Grichuk, who had been sidelined by a rib-cage injury, played his first game in the field on Thursday. It was his first time playing in back-to-back games. Hale said Grichuk came through it with no problems.

"All seems to be pointing in the right direction," Hale said. "You just continue to monitor and talk to these guys and see where they're at."

• Hale said the organization is considering holding back some players, or at least monitoring workloads, for the exhibition games on Monday and Tuesday against the Cardinals at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Pearce, Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson would be among the players under consideration.

"That decision is going to be made going forward, because that's a different turf up there," Hale said. "But they also need to still play and get their at-bats. … We have to be careful with all of them, really. That's the big thing, is just starting the season healthy."

Up next

The Blue Jays will travel to Tampa, Fla., on Saturday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Yankees, who will start David Hale. Toronto has yet to announce a starting pitcher. Listen live on Gameday Audio.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Blue Jays on Friday.

Toronto Blue Jays