Notes: Bo's timing at SS; 'Bat Girl'; Dolis to IL 

May 9th, 2021

On a back field in Dunedin, Fla., where cameras and curious onlookers couldn’t get in on the action, Blue Jays third base coach Luis Rivera deployed a drill to help Bo Bichette make strides as a shortstop.  

The drill was a simple one, involving a stopwatch, a ball and a fungo bat. Rivera or another coach would give Bichette a time (to simulate a runner’s speed from home to first), hit a ball his way and start the clock. Bichette had to complete the play before time ran out.  

For a slower runner, Bichette might receive 4.5 seconds to field and throw.  

“And then we go, ‘4.1!’” Rivera said. “And it’s gonna be a little bit faster.”  

Tenths of a second can mean the difference between allowing yourself to sit back for a perfect hop or charging hard out of necessity. For Bichette, who ranks 28th among 33 qualified shortstops in Outs Above Average, a reminder of how much time he has -- or how little -- can be crucial.  

“I think they know,” Rivera said in regard to players having their own internal clock for the timing of each play. “But then, when the game starts and the adrenaline starts going … you just react. You’ve forgotten about who’s running or not.”  

Rivera praised Bichette for a play he made Saturday on a backhanded, slow-roller hit by the speedy Jose Altuve, who ranks 23rd in MLB in sprint speed. Although Altuve didn’t appear to be running his hardest, Bichette made sure to charge the ball and throw quickly to first, making the out in plenty of time.  

Every situation is different based on who’s batting, who’s on base, how hard the ball is hit, etc. But when the game feels like it’s speeding up, Bichette can always think about his work on the back fields, where no one was watching.  

Blue Jays celebrate ‘Honorary Bat Girl’

In recognition of Mother’s Day and the continued fight against breast cancer, each MLB club has designated an Honorary Bat Girl to be recognized Sunday. The Blue Jays’ Honorary Bat Girl is Sarah Myton-Pendley, 42, from Brampton, Ont.  

Myton-Pendley works as a fitness and wellness coordinator for a school in Toronto and has provided nearly two decades of service to the sport and fitness industry. She and her husband are big Blue Jays fans who rarely miss a bobblehead giveaway game.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Myton-Pendley was diagnosed with breast cancer. But her family rallied behind her, and after a lumpectomy surgery and 26 sessions of radiation, Myton-Pendley’s most recent mammogram showed no signs of cancer. Now she’ll continue with hormone therapy to minimize recurrence.

Find more information about Honorary Bat Girls across the league here.  

MLB will also celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday by having players swing pink bats and don additional pink gear to commemorate the “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative, which intends to raise awareness and funds (through donations and auction proceeds) to support efforts to address breast cancer.  

The league will donate 100% of its royalties from sales of on-field Authentic Collection apparel with the MLB pink ribbon logo to Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. 

Dolis becomes latest reliever sent to IL

In a corresponding move after officially activating Nate Pearson for Sunday’s start, the Blue Jays placed reliever Rafael Dolis on the 10-day injured list with a right calf strain. 

Dolis was removed from Friday’s game with a calf issue, and manager Charlie Montoyo said Saturday that Dolis had suffered a Grade 1 calf strain. The IL assignment is retroactive to Saturday, meaning Dolis will be eligible to return as early as May 18. 

Toronto now has Dolis, Anthony Castro, David Phelps and Tommy Milone on the 10-day IL. Castro, who is the closest of the group to returning, threw a bullpen session on Friday, but he “wasn’t 100 percent.”