ST. PETERSBURG -- After taking paternity leave for the birth of his daughter in South Carolina, Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak returned to the lineup in the cleanup spot on Sunday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
"That's all part of it,'' Smoak said. "Show and go. Get a bat, get out there, try to win a game. It's all good. I'm glad to be back. But it has been a whirlwind.''
Smoak's wife, Kristin, gave birth to a 9-pound, 1-ounce girl, Berkleigh Grace, on Thursday at 1:11:11 p.m. ET.
"One o'clock, 11 minutes, 11 seconds. … I'm not sure what that means, but that was pretty crazy,'' Smoak said. "Everybody is doing well. We had her at home. We have plenty of family and friends around to help out.
"In-season babies are tough. You can't plan everything out obviously. But it's pretty hectic during the season. They'll be in South Carolina for the first month or so, then come to Toronto. I'm very happy and overjoyed to have our second daughter. Now I'm back to play a little baseball.''
Alford starts in left
Touted prospect Anthony Alford, who was called up Saturday from Triple-A Buffalo, was in Sunday's lineup, batting sixth and playing left field.
Alford, the club's No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is hoping to distance himself from a series of injuries that have haunted his professional career.
"I'm not really thinking about that, just here to produce, stay healthy and help the team win,'' said Alford, who is ranked behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in the Blue Jays' organization. "I'm very excited to be here and want to take advantage of this opportunity.''
Alford played in four MLB games last season (1-for-8), but that opportunity was short-circuited when he fractured the hamate bone in his left wrist. He sustained a right hamstring strain in mid-April after a strong showing in Spring Training. In 10 games with Buffalo, Alford hit .154/.214/.179 with 16 strikeouts in 42 plate appearances.
"I know people are watching me and have expectations, but I don't get caught up in that outside noise,'' Alford said. "My goal is just to play the way I know I can and things will take care of themselves.''
Granderson gearing up
Blue Jays outfielder Curtis Granderson, who left Friday night's contest against the Rays after the first inning with right hamstring tightness, ran in the outfield prior to Sunday's game. He's gearing up for a potential return on Tuesday when the Blue Jays host the Mariners.
"We haven't really done many baseball activities and just wanted to test it today,'' Granderson said. "I think things will be OK. I hope so. We're just trying to make sure everything is going good, so we can be ready to roll.''