Colabello the standout in Blue Jays' intrasquad tilt

February 29th, 2016
Chris Colabello went 2-for-2 with a home run on Monday. (@BlueJays)

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays had an unofficial start to their Spring Training schedule on Monday morning with an intrasquad game, as Chris Colabello went 2-for-2 with a double and a home run, while left-hander J.A. Happ got an inning of work.

Happ tossed his inning against a group of regulars including Josh Donaldson, Kevin Pillar, Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak and Colabello. He allowed three runs -- two earned -- over his inning of work, but obviously the results at this point in spring aren't worth reading into.

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The most important thing was that Happ left the game feeling good, as he focused on fastball command and used the outing as a final tuneup before his Grapefruit League routine gets underway Friday against the Orioles.

"You're trying to locate your fastball," Happ said. "I talked to Russ [Martin] before -- we wanted to throw strikes. Obviously, your secondary stuff isn't that sharp this early. I probably didn't have much of a curveball today, but that's fine. Locating the fastball and working off from there."

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Colabello was the early standout on offense as he doubled off the wall in the first inning vs. Happ. Later in the game, he hit a deep solo home run to left-center field off left-hander Pat McCoy. The early returns are nice, but it's more about getting regular timing down at the plate and settling into the routine of facing live pitching.

Team Blue, which featured many of Toronto's Major League players, ultimately came out on top with a 7-1 victory over Team Grey. Smoak, Junior Lake and Ryan Goins were among other members of Team Blue to drive in a run, while Ezequiel Carrera was responsible for the lone run on the other side.

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"I would have said three weeks, before today," Colabello joked when asked how long it usually takes to get his timing down. "It varies. It's a matter of getting your body on time more than anything else and then letting the swing take care of itself.

"When you're moving your body, when you can sync up with what the pitchers are doing, you give yourself a chance to put yourself in good positions. It can vary on any given day at this point of the year. Usually this early, I'm still in search of stuff, but I think getting older and maturing a little better helps you identify yourself and kind of remember what makes you who you are."

Taking it slow:

Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki and Edwin Encarnacion were among the regulars who didn't participate in the intrasquad game. Tulowitzki isn't expected to make his debut until later in the week, while Bautista isn't expected to play for at least another seven days.

None of the players are hurt, although Encarnacion did have an abscessed tooth removed on Sunday, but the Blue Jays want to ease them into the spring schedule with more than a month still remaining before the start of the regular season.

"Tulo, he's going to play the fourth game, the second home game here," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Bautista, he'll get started in about a week or 10 days. [Josh] Donaldson will be good to go from the beginning. We're just holding some guys back and giving them more time.

"It was by design. With Jose, that longer season [in 2015] and his workout regimen -- just gives him a little more time. Tulo, that was the plan to begin with."

Case suspended:

Blue Jays Minor League right-hander Andrew Case received a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Monday afternoon for failing to take a drug test. Case, who is originally from Saint John, New Brunswick, is currently on the roster for Class A Vancouver, and his suspension will officially begin at the start of the 2016 Northwest League season. Case, 23, went 3-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 52 1/3 combined innings between Vancouver and Class A Lansing last year.