Rowdy Tellez homered for the first time this spring at Olympic Stadium in Montreal Saturday.
There were plenty of former Vancouver Canadians who stood out for the Toronto Blue Jays roster for their two-game exhibition series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Olympic Stadium in Montreal over the weekend. Most notable was Rowdy Tellez, who connected for his first spring home run to provide an insurance in the Jays 6-4 win Saturday. Christian Lopes concluded his hot spring with a base hit to give him a batting average of .600 in 10 at-bats and Kevin Pillar had a hit in two at-bats to finish at .345.
Tim Mayza put out a fire with an inning of shutout relief for the Blue Jays on Saturday.
The best pitching performance was turned in by Tim Mayza as the lefthander from Millersville University of Pennsylvania stranded two runners and recorded a 1-2-3 fifth after Mike Bolsinger was bombed for three runs to allow Pittsburgh to tie the game at 4-4. Alonzo Gonzalez nearly gave up a home run to Austin Meadows as the ball just went foul down the right field line but the lefty picked up a hold and struck out a batter in a shutout seventh. Justin Shafer had an exciting ninth when he allowed a walk and a single that moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch but he punched out two batters, striking out Oshawa, Ontario native and member of the Canadian World Baseball Classic team Eric Wood to record the save.
Other former C’s getting into Saturday’s game were outfielders Dwight Smith Jr. (0-for-1), Jonathan Davis (0-for-2), Ian Parmley (0-for-2), infielder Shane Opitz and catcher Mike Reeves.
On Friday, two former Canadians pitchers started and ended the 1-1 tie against the Bucs. Marcus Stroman completed his spring with four shutout frames of five-hit ball, striking two and walking nobody. All six of his outs in play were on the ground. Roberto Osuna finished up with a scoreless ninth with one hit allowed and one strikeout but he is now on the 10-day disabled list with a cervical spasm. There have been plenty of concerns about Osuna this spring after a shaky World Baseball Classic performance for Mexico against Italy and his velocity reportedly down a few ticks in the lower 90’s. Hopefully Osuna will be back in time for the Blue Jays home opener against Milwaukee next week.
Pillar went 1-for-3 and was the only former C’s to get a hit Friday. Tellez had one plate appearance but was 0-for-1. Davis and Lopes entered the game as defensive replacements at center field and second base respectively. Of the 14 former Vancouver Canadians listed on the roster, the only one not to see any action was righthander Josh DeGraaf.
For now, Stroman and Aaron Sanchez will represent Vancouver on the Blue Jays starting rotation in 2017 and Pillar will do the same on the position player side on the Blue Jays Opening Day roster. Hopefully, Osuna will carry the Vancouver flag in the bullpen sooner rather than later. The Jays will need contributions from all four as they look to make the playoffs for a third straight season.