Blue Jays spring notes: Hutchison bulked up, Thole, Venditte


The Toronto Blue Jays pitchers and catchers are holding their first official workouts today in Dunedin, Florida ahead of the 2016 MLB season

Pitchers and catchers are on the field in Dunedin, and the Blue Jays are back in action. This reporting date isn’t as hard as it seems, given that many players have been training together in the area for weeks, but for all intents and purposes, it’s official.

Much of the next two weeks will be photographs of stretches and players rolling out the classic spring training lines. “I’m in the best shape of my life” or “I’ve been working on a changeup this offseason”. Through the static, however, there are already some valuable takeaways.

Today’s first eye-catcher was this tweet from TSN’s Scott MacArthur, who reports that Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison arrived to camp looking larger. This could be a good sign for his bounce-back attempt after a rough 2015. 

Hutchison may need to  leapfrog both Jesse Chavez and Aaron Sanchez, who bulked up himself this offseason by adding over 20 pounds.

In other news, Josh Thole opened camp working with R.A. Dickey today. 

This is the obvious match entering the season, of course, but earlier today on The Fan 590, Jeff Blair discussed with Shi Davidi whether or not newcomer Tony Sanchez would be given an opportunity to work with the knuckleball early on. Besides, Thole knows already the ropes.

Elsewhere on the diamond was this spring’s great novelty Pat Venditte, who is worth watching to steal a job at the bottom of Toronto’s bullpen. By now you’ve heard the story that Venditte is ambidextrous, but it’s fascinating to watch the transition happen in real time. 

At this point in the spring, the name of the game is showing up in shape and staying healthy. So far, so good.