[Ed. Note: We’d like to welcome Wesley James to our writing staff at Blue Jays from Away. We know that you’ll love his insights and reports into the game!]
Troy Tulowitzki and Marco Estrada made their spring training debuts for the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin on Sunday but it wasn’t enough as Bo Schultz gave up three runs to the Tampa Bay Rays in the eighth inning to take a 5-3 loss.
Marcus Stroman made his second start for the Jays (and his last before he heads to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic), giving up one run over 2 and 1/3 innings of work and continued his string of strong outings. Marco Estrada then made his first Grapefruit League appearance with two clean innings of work, giving up only one hit and striking out one.
Big questions still remain for the Jays bullpen and Schultz did himself no favours. Up 3-1 heading into the inning, Schultz gave up two singles and the runners moved up on a strikeout that got away from catcher Reese McGuire. Two singles and a fielding error by Darrell Ceciliani allowed three runs to score and Schultz did not see the end of the inning, with Matt Dermody taking his place to retire the final batter of the inning.
Fielding was not a strength on Sunday as the Jays committed three errors on the day and arguably should have had four after a miscommunication between Kevin Pillar and Melvin Upton, Jr. led to a dropped fly ball in the first inning. Ceciliani’s eighth-inning bobble led the to the only runs that were a direct result of an error.
Jose Bautista led the team that consisted mostly of regulars expected to make the 25-man roster, manufacturing a run with a double and a stolen base in the second inning. Bautista is batting .563 after the first week of spring training. Kevin Pillar was solid offensively going 2/3 and Steve Pearce, who started the game as the designated hitter, also had a good game going 1/2 with two RBI. Pearce is competing for a job as an everyday player in left field but will most likely platoon with Justin Smoak at first to start the season.
Rowdy Tellez started the game at first but struck out twice while going 0/3, dropping his batting average to just .181. Darrell Ceciliani also struggled at the plate and in the field bobbling a ball while playing center field in the eighth and went hitless in his lone plate appearance.
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