The Toronto Blue Jays have announced their starting pitchers for the first three upcoming games of Grapefruit League action.
Thornton will take the bump in the spring opener versus the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The hurler is the odds on favourite for the fifth and final spot in the rotation following a successful rookie campaign.
The 26-year old went 6-9 with a 4.84 earned run average coupled with 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.7 WAR. Thornton led the team in starts with 29 and innings pitched with 154.1 innings thrown.
The former fifth-round selection of the Houston Astros will attempt to build off his rookie season in his sophomore campaign in 2020.
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Anthony Kay will toe the rubber in the second Grapefruit League game of the spring on Sunday versus Josh Donaldson and the Minnesota Twins at the CenturyLink Sports Complex. Kay was acquired from the New York Mets last summer along with Simeon Woods Richardson in exchange for Marcus Stroman.
The 24-year old made three MLB appearances including two starts last season for the Blue Jays surrendering nine earned run while fanning 13 in 14 innings of work. Kay will in all likelihood begin the season in Triple-A with the Bisons but he could be at the top of the reinforcement list if he gets off to a hot start in Buffalo.
Newcomer Shun Yamaguchi will make his Blue Jays debut on Monday versus the Braves in the teams first home game of the spring. Yamaguchi signed a two year/ $6 million dollar pact this offseason after pitching in Japan for fourteen seasons.
Yamaguchi has enjoyed previous success as both a starter and a closer in Japan, however, last season he went 15-4 with a 2.91 earned run average in 26 starts for the Yomiuri Giants. The 32-year old would prefer a starting assignment and could give Thornton a run for his money for that final rotation spot if he has a strong spring.
Smile and rejoice, folks, spring training baseball is finally upon us. Play Ball!!!!