With Spring Training drawing to a close in Dunedin, two more players with Vancouver Canadians ties saw their first game action with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend. Christian Williams and J.C. Cardenas got into Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles in Dunedin.
Williams – a first baseman with last year’s C’s – replaced Justin Smoak at first in the seventh inning. Williams’ lone plate appearance came in the ninth after Juan Graterol started the inning with a base hit. Williams hit the ball hard but it was right at the second baseman and it resulted in a 6-4-3 double play.
J.C. Cardenas – a shortstop with the 2015 C’s – entered Sunday’s game against Baltimore as a defensive replacement at short for Darwin Barney in the eighth inning and received a strong throw from 2014 C’s outfielder Roemon Fields from right to cut down Pedro Alvarez at second to end the inning. Cardenas also turned a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play in the ninth. The Havana, Cuba native’s lone at-bat came in the bottom half of the frame after Williams’ double play and he struck out on a foul tip to end the game. With Williams and Cardenas seeing game action, that makes it 24 position players with C’s connections to play for the Blue Jays this spring. Including pitchers, the overall number is now up to 34.
J.C. Cardenas made his professional debut with the Vancouver Canadians in 2015 after being selected in the sixth round of that year’s draft from Barry University.
Cardenas and Williams also played for the Blue Jays against the Canadian Junior National Team in Dunedin Saturday. Cardenas contributed an RBI single while Williams chipped in with a double and a run scored in two at-bats. The game against the Canadian Juniors featured plenty of former C’s suiting up for the Jays with a half-dozen players getting at-bats.
- Lane Thomas (2015) – 2/2, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI
- Mike Reeves (2013, 2014 – Peterborough, ON) – 2/3, RBI , R
- D.J. Davis (2012) – 2/4, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 3R
- Yeltsin Gudino (2016) – 0/1, BB, 2 R
- Ryan Hissey (2015) – 0/1
- Connor Panas (2015 – Toronto, ON) – 0/2, BB, R
Along with six hitters with C’s connections, all six pitchers who climbed the mound in this one were former C’s.
- Mike Ellenbest (2016) – 3.0 IP 2 H 0 R/ER 1 BB 2 K (W 1-0)
- Zach Jackson (2016) – 2.0 IP 2 H 0 R/ER 1 BB 3 K (H 1)
- Nick Hartman (2016) – 1.0 IP 0 H 0 R/ER 0 BB 0 K
- Griffin Glaude (2016) – 1.0 IP 0 H 0 R/ER 2 BB 3 K
- Josh DeGraaf (2015) – 1.0 IP 0 H 0 R/ER 1 BB 1 K
- Andrew Case (2014, 2015 – Saint John, NB) – 1.0 IP 1 H 0 R/ER 0 BB 1 K
2016 Vancouver Canadians first baseman Christian Williams was taken in the 16th round of the 2015 draft out of Gulf Coast Community College.
The best performance from a former Vancouver Canadian in Sunday’s game against the Orioles came from 2016 Blue Jays second-round pick J.B. Woodman. The Ole Miss product went 2-for-3 during Sunday’s game against the Orioles and made a diving catch to rob Chris Johnson of a base hit. Woodman lined a single to right off Jayson Aquino in the second inning but he was thrown out trying to steal second base. His other base hit was an infield single against Donnie Hart in the fifth. Josh Palacios made a nice running catch in right field in Sunday’s game and nearly robbed Johnson with a diving catch down the right field line.
The Blue Jays were in split-squad action Sunday as they also played the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland where a couple of former C’s hit the long ball. Ryan McBroom went deep again for the third time this spring to tie the game up at 2-2 in the seventh inning and brought in the first Jays run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Christian Lopes then homered in the ninth for a solo shot and that turned out to be the winning run in an eventual 4-3 victory.
Also making headlines earlier in the week was 2011 Vancouver Canadians infielder Shane Opitz, who belted a three-run home run to give the Jays a walk-off victory over the Tigers in Dunedin Wednesday and made a terrific diving stop of a ground ball at second base to preserve a 3-2 win over Boston Friday.
Even though all of the players mentioned are a long ways away from contributing to the parent club, Blue Jays management has to like what it saw from many of them over the last few days.