Chapman Pitches to Birds

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A_ChapmanMarch 10, 2016
Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees

George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

Cuban Pitcher Aroldis Chapman Pitches to the Birds

By: Rocky Julich

The 2016 Spring Training is Toronto’s 40th in Dunedin. They have trained at their Grapefruit League camp since their first season in 1977. Of the 30 Clubs in the Major Leagues, only three teams have been in their current spring training city longer than the Blue Jays (Detroit Tigers, Lakeland – Philadelphia Phillies, Clearwater – Pittsburgh Pirates, Bradenton).

The Toronto Blue Jays have outgrown their playing fields in Dunedin and as each spsring season ends there is talk of the team constructing and moving to a modern, luxurious stadium to satisfy their Major League team, also, provide spacious surroundings to accommodate their Minor League Player Development organization. Yet, the fact remains that Dunedin is the winter home to a large Canadian fan base and the Toronto Blue Jays are Canada’s team.

Last season, the Blue Jays led the majors in just about every offensive category to reach the American League Championship Series for the first time in 22 seasons. Toronto is serious about staying in contention during 2016, with a team intact for another October run with a clubhouse of veterans; key players with five-plus seasons of Major League experience: LHP Brett Cecil, RHP Jose Chavez, RHP R.A. Dickey, RHP Marco Estrada, LHP J.A. Happ, (Toronto native) C Russell Martin, 1B Justin Smoak, (new to Toronto) SS Troy Tulowitzki, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, OF Jose Bautista (10+ MLB seasons).

To note, ten year veteran RHP Roberto Hernandez of the American League Cleveland Indians is in camp with Toronto, trying out to secure a relievers role in the Blue Jays bullpen.

Toronto Blue Jays projected 2016 line-up:

CF Kevin Pillar

3B Josh Donaldson

RF Jose Bautista

DH Edwin Encarnacion

SS Troy Tulowitzki

1B Chris Colabello

C Russell Martin

LF Michael Saunders

2B Ryan Goins

Toronto’s bullpen is developing home grown talent; RHP Steve Delabar, RHP Drew Hutchinson, LHP Aaron Loup, RHP Roberto Osuna and their non-roster invitees from their Triple A team; RHP Aaron Sanchez, RHP Marcus Stroman, prospects #1-3B Andy Burns, OF Dalton Pompey, OF Kevin Pillar and RH/LH pitcher Pat Venditte. While on the mound, Venditte is the only pitcher who can switch pitching from right hand to left hand, depending on the batter he faces. A feat to behold.

The Game:

Yankees starter, RHP Nathan Eovaldi made his spring debut and was pitch perfect during two innings. He recorded a no-decision. It’s too early during training for a starting pitcher to record a win as the team starters are permitted 2- 3 innings (approximately 40 pitches) per game.

The Yankees future relief trio, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Dellin Betances and LHP Aroldis Chapman took the mound in succession for the first time. Chapman who is expected to be the next Yankees Closer was wild, as he made his first Spring Training appearance, pitching 2/3 of an inning, 2BB, 1K, 1 earned run and hitting 2 batters, including Toronto star OF Jose Bautista. Chapman faced 6 batters, threw 26 pitches/9 for strikes earning a 13.50 ERA.

At the top of the fifth inning, Non-Roster invitee RHP Diego Moreno relieved Chapman and recorded the last out of the inning. Moreno pitched the sixth inning and picked up the loss in relief. In 1-1/3 innings, allowed 5 runs/4 earned (3H, 1BB, 2K).

It was a game of hits (13) and runs(11) as the Blue Jays were dominant over the Yankees bullpen.

Game Notes:

Toronto 3B Andy Burns hit a HR and a double for four RBIs.

Yankees 2B Johathan Diaz hit a HR for 2 RBIs.

Toronto used 24 players, including 6 pitchers.

Yankees used 26 players, including 8 pitchers.

Final: Toronto 11 – Yankees 4

WP: Jose Chavez (1-1) 3.66 ERA

LP: Diego Moreno (0-1) 13.50 ERA

Time: 2:51

Attendance: 8,706

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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its’ clubs.

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