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Pompey hopes to ride momentum into Classic

Blue Jays outfielder homered in first spring action on Wednesday
Special to MLB.com

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey probably couldn't have asked for a much better result at the plate in his first action of the spring Wednesday.

Pompey, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Melvin Upton Jr. in the fifth inning, drove an 0-1 offering from Tigers pitcher Sandy Baez deep over the wall in left field. After spending the first week of games dealing with a chest cold, Pompey said he was just happy to get into some in-game situations.

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey probably couldn't have asked for a much better result at the plate in his first action of the spring Wednesday.

Pompey, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Melvin Upton Jr. in the fifth inning, drove an 0-1 offering from Tigers pitcher Sandy Baez deep over the wall in left field. After spending the first week of games dealing with a chest cold, Pompey said he was just happy to get into some in-game situations.

"It was good to get out there and see some pitches," Pompey said. "I was out for a couple of days before there, so I just wanted to put the bat on the ball. It's just baby steps at that point."

Pompey is hoping his offseason commitment to working on his body and gaining strength will pay dividends over the season. He gained over 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, and he said he tried to do so without sacrificing the speed that is a major part of his game.

"I didn't really pick up a bat or anything until I got here in the middle of January," Pompey said. "I was just working out twice a day. Focusing on my forms, my hand strength, which is helping me at the plate. I just decided to take a little break from baseball and work on my body and get myself right."

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Pompey will leave Blue Jays camp in a few days to represent Canada in the World Baseball Classic. He is expected to be Team Canada's starting center fielder and leadoff man.

The Classic will give Pompey the opportunity to deal with different pitching and in-game situations. However, Pompey isn't looking at it as a chance to boost his individual stock; he just wants to compete for his country.

"I just want to play with a bunch of guys who have the same goal in mind," Pompey said. "I feel like when you are in a tournament, the only thing that matters is winning, just like it is here. But we're all individuals, so we all care to a certain extent. But when I'm there, it's not going to be about stats. It's going to be about how I can help my team that day, and I feel like that mentality is going to carry me throughout the season and hopefully to Toronto."

The Blue Jays have a surplus of outfielders, and it appears likely that Pompey will start the season with Triple-A Buffalo, but he hopes to make enough of an impression that he could eventually reach the Majors during the season.

"I mean, I definitely want to finish the year in the big leagues," Pompey said. "How it starts is always a mystery. I don't have a crystal ball, I don't know what's going to happen. Anything can happen. So I just take it day by day and focus on what I need to do today to give myself the best chance to succeed in the field, and repeat that every day."

Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com.

Toronto Blue Jays, Dalton Pompey