3 Up 3 Down: Morales Goes Yard, Biagini Brings It, Urena’s Tough Day

Real – live – baseball – on television. Not only one game, but two Blue Jays games were broadcasted yesterday as the club took action in split squad games against the Phillies and the Yankees.

Many more eyes were on the “A” squad game which featured many more of the Blue Jays’ regulars, and plenty of them didn’t disappoint: Kendrys Morales, Jose Bautista and Joe Biagini among them.

One game is an extremely small sample size to extract any sort of information from, but there were a few standout candidates from the first televised Blue Jays game of the Grapefruit League schedule.



Is there More to Morales?

Sunday was the first opportunity to finally see Kendrys Morales in action as a Blue Jay, and he didn’t disappoint. In addition to his moonshot of a home run, Morales displayed solid baserunning by advancing from second to third on a fly ball.

My initial reaction was “Morales can do that”? After all, he comes with the reputation as a dump truck on the base paths, but that didn’t seem to inhibit Kendrys Morales at all.

And Morales’ home run wasn’t a cheapy either; that ball cleared the right-centre field fence no problem. Perhaps this is merely a taste of the kind of power the Blue Jays’ new DH could find himself benefiting from this season. Maybe there is more to Morales after all.

As Stoeten said, although Kendrys Morales has big shoes to fill, its hard not to root for him.


Biagini Brings It in Spring Training Debut

Prior to Joe Biagini’s appearance on Sunday, Ben Nicholson-Smith reported the Blue Jays are “cooling off” on the idea of having Biagini move into the starting rotation. Barring an injury to one of the team’s starters, I’d agree that’s probably the right move.

Biagini looked solid in his 1.2 innings of work against the Phillies; only one walk allowed and a pair of strikeouts during his appearance. Not remotely enough to say Joe Biagini should start or be a reliever, but at this rate, I’m leaning more towards having him in the bullpen.

Among many things, Biagni discussed that he wants to get back to using his changeup more in 2017. If he were to start this season, it’s a necessity to have another effective pitch. However, in the bullpen, he can probably just rely on fastball/curveball/slider.



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Just a Bad Day at the Office for Richard Urena?

It was only one game – and it was his birthday of all days – but Richard Urena just had a bad day at the office. A pair of throwing errors early in the game put the Blue Jays behind, and to add insult to injury, he took a ball off the leg.

Urena has a plus arm and glove at the position, but had difficulty making a few throws on the run from shortstop. Maybe just a bad day at the office, because Urena is pegged as one of the organization’s best up-and-coming defenders in the infield.

Urena is still one of the Blue Jays’ top prospects to keep an eye on; there are some who believe he’s the heir apparent to Troy Tulowitzki. I could definitely see a little bit of Tulo in Urena (especially when it comes to his throwing style), but not in the results.

As exciting as some of these young players are, Spring Training often underscores just how much work some of these players still need to make it to the big league level. I don’t doubt that Urena will get there eventually, but he still has quite a bit of work to do.


Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.