TORONTO -- The Blue Jays took on a different look Friday night against the Twins as the inaugural Players Weekend got underway across Major League Baseball and players were given an opportunity to flash some personality.Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman isn't scheduled to start over the weekend, but the "Stro-Show" was
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays took on a different look Friday night against the Twins as the inaugural Players Weekend got underway across Major League Baseball and players were given an opportunity to flash some personality.
Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman isn't scheduled to start over the weekend, but the "Stro-Show" was the one Blue Jays player who came out for warmups already wearing his customized jersey. The right-hander who is well-known for his social media presence and expressive style of play will also wear cleats that he describes as "Sweet Mint", inspired by the gum he chews on the mound during every start.
Another player known for his nickname is Kevin Pillar, who will go by "Pill" for Players Weekend, but he is still able to wear Superman cleats this weekend. Often referred to as Superman for his high-flying catches in center field, Pillar also donned a Superman shirt in the clubhouse before taking the field for BP.
• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
The players' jerseys also featured a custom patch on the sleeve where players can thank someone who influenced them in their journey through baseball. Shortstop Ryan Goins has chosen to honor his grandmother whom he calls "… one of the biggest influences in my life, who made me the person I am today."
Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off and 100 percent of proceeds will be donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, which focuses on improving the calibre, effectiveness and ability of amateur baseball and softball across the U.S. and Canada.
• Blue Jays Players Weekend nicknames explained
"I think it's really cool," said Devon Travis, who is known as "The Baby" because all he does is sleep and eat while the team is on the road. "Just to add a little excitement to the game. The fans can maybe get a little understanding of guys off the field ... what they're called. A little meaning behind what they do."
Beyond their jerseys and cleats, the players will also be able to wear uniquely coloured and designed gloves, wristbands, sleeves, catcher's masks and bats. Some players have opted for blue bats to match the Blue Jays' uniforms while other players across the league are using bats that represent their home country.
Right-hander Nick Tepesch was activated from the paternity list on Friday and optioned back to Triple-A Buffalo. Joe Biagini, the "Genie", arrived in Toronto on Friday after getting stretched out over four starts in Triple-A, and manager John Gibbons said it's "a real possibility" he starts for the Blue Jays on Sunday in their series finale against the Twins.
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto and covered the Blue Jays on Friday.