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Nate isn’t great while Canadian Romano picks up where he left off for Blue Jays

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Frank Zicarelli Blue Jays Austin Martin (80) throws himself into first place during spring training at TD Ballpark against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Photo by Nathan Ray Seebeck /.USA TODAY Sports

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A highlight on Austin Martin’s pitch, an unpredictable outing by Nate Pearson, the return of a healthy Jordan Romano while Francisco Liriano pitched in a Jays jersey for the first time since 2017.

It was quite a day at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, a day of highs and lows. A day manager Charlie Montoyo would confirm how free agent George Springer will lead the game at DH on Tuesday.

It is difficult to sift through what is relevant and what can best be described as noteworthy as only a handful of media were available to properly document the day’s events.

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In Montoyo you have a good man who cannot lie.

If he says Pearson is nowhere near his best, believe the skipper.

If he says he has no shares in Martin’s two-mistake game, believe him.

Toronto’s fifth overall draft 2020 selection was his debut in the spring league against the big boys baseball.

The kid took floor balls and fly balls with Montoyo and said Martin would soon see action in the outfield.

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As for Pearson, Montoyo wants him to throw two innings the next time he’s on the hill after his one inning on Monday.

Before Pearson recorded his final, Montoyo said he had made someone warm up.

Romano injured his finger last season.

“He looked good,” said Montoyo of the Canadian. “He threw a few sliders and it was, from our point of view, ‘Oh my god, this is bad’. He’s in great shape. He looked great today. I am not suprised.”

For at least the first two opening homestands of the regular season, the Jays will use Dunedin as their home.

A year ago, Montoyo noticed the wind blowing.

On Monday it blew in from the right field.

Springer, says Montoyo, will likely be in the outfield next time after Tuesday.

AIR MARTIN

Martin made a great game behind Pearson in every way.

As soon as the ball hit the bat, Pearson knew it would be a hit.

“Oh man, this is trouble,” he said. “I turn around and he’ll come down with it. It was pretty impressive. He has a few jumps and reflexes. It was pretty exciting. “

TO SERVE YOUTH

Kudos to Sean Travers for his hard work and spirit in giving back to the community to help start the Cito Gaston Baseball Scholarship.

Travers first contacted the manager of the World Series Champions 25 years ago when he founded and ran a baseball academy from Mississauga’s Playdium that bore Gaston’s name.

Travers ‘latest attack involves the Mississauga Tigers’ high performance program, which aims to attract deserving youth in the Black Community who excel in the classroom.

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The main sponsor of the Cito Gaston Baseball Scholarship is John Bitove Jr., a huge sports fan and accomplished businessman who led the Toronto ownership group when the Raptors joined the NBA in 1995.

Down the hatch

Thomas Hatch got his first taste of the big leagues last year and made quite an impression when he took an all-rounder role out of the pen.

Last year, Hatch was scheduled to start and work its way up in Buffalo, the location of the team’s triple-A partner.

Of course, all plans were scratched when COVID forced teams and players to adapt on the fly.

The words strenuous, the tribute it mentally took, were used by Hatch during his Zoom call.

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Hatch also took pride in the way he and the entire team rose.

A new year brings new challenges and for Hatch that means developing a curveball.

Hatch said he did one live hitting drill with a plan to throw a second before he could unleash the field in a live situation.

“It’s a good opportunity to try it out and get some reaction from the guys,” said Hatch.

Hatch admitted how his former team, the Chicago Cubs, first brought up the issue of adding the curve to his pitching repertoire.

“I’ve never been a curveball guy but it turns out they knew what they were talking about,” he said of the Cubs.

Hatch admitted how he threw a variation of the curve in high school and college.

“It’s a new world for me,” explained Hatch, saying that his slider is more of a power pitch while the curve requires more finesse.

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MARCH ANGRY

The Jays and Pirates played 2-2 on the first day of March.

Six pitchers from Toronto hit eight together.

The Jays had more strikeouts (5) and left more runners on the base (6) than they had hits (3).

Starter Robbie Ray gave up a run with a hit in two innings before making way for Pearson, Liriano, David Phelps, Ryan Borucki and Romano.

Alejandro Kirk’s sacrificial fly and Breyvic Valera’s single in the first off by Mitch Keller made Toronto goals.

Anthony Alford, a former Jay, faced Ray in the second round before Phillip Evans closed the game with a single from the third inning from Pearson.

Ray was very pleased with his order and needed eight spaces to complete the first inning.

He was really pleased with the way Ray threw his slider, his strikeout pitch.

“I felt like it was there today,” said Ray.

“It was interesting,” said Ray from the area. “To see fans in the stands is definitely a welcome sight.”

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