Blue Jays: Nate Pearson not the only exciting spring debut on Tuesday

DUNEDIN, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 22: Julian Merryweather #59 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a portrait during photo day at Dunedin Stadium on February 22, 2019 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
DUNEDIN, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 22: Julian Merryweather #59 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a portrait during photo day at Dunedin Stadium on February 22, 2019 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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When you’re in the same minor league system as a pitcher like Nate Pearson, it’s easy to get lost in the hype, but Julian Merryweather had a successful spring debut on Tuesday as well.

Most of the talk about the Blue Jays from Tuesday’s split-squad games surrounded Nate Pearson, and deservedly so. The Blue Jays’ top prospect was electric in his Grapefruit League debut on the year, striking out the side against the Yankees. However, he wasn’t the only hard-throwing pitcher with an encouraging first outing of the spring.

Even though most of his last two seasons have been wiped out by injury, you’re likely familiar with the name Julian Merryweather. That’s because he was the player that Blue Jays received in return for Josh Donaldson during the last minute deal that went down in August of 2018. Unfortunately the Blue Jays haven’t seen much return on their investment so far, but that could change in 2020 now that Merryweather in healthy and back on the mound.

He actually followed Pearson and threw the second inning against the Yankees. While it wasn’t the same dominant performance, there were very encouraging signs from the 28-year-old, especially after throwing just 12 innings over the past two seasons. Still, Merryweather touched 96 miles per hour on the radar gun, and struck out two opposing hitters to impress those in attendance. It hardly mattered at all that he allowed two hits and an earned run.

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At this point it’s hard to say what the future holds for Merryweather, but the Blue Jays have kept him on the 40-man roster long enough to find out despite facing a bit of a roster crunch at times over the winter. I’m sure they’d like to change the narrative a bit around that Donaldson trade from a while back, but it’s also not fair to put that on Merryweather either.

And to hear the California native tell it, he’s focused on being healthy, staying on the field, and ultimately, getting to the highest level. He was quoted saying pretty much that in an article from Keegan Matheson of MLB.com yesterday.

"“I’m not taking any experience for granted. Obviously, the big goal is to get to the big leagues, and that’s what I’m building towards. Results right now are great, but it’s more about getting ready for a possible debut.”"

After nearly two full seasons on the sidelines, I can’t imagine how much Merryweather is itching to get back on a mound and prove his worth. That said, he’s likely also learned the value of patience with rehab, as he’s dealt with Tommy John surgery, and subsequent issues since.

Next. The damage is done, so Borucki should take his time. dark

If the Blue Jays can get a healthy version of the right-hander in 2020, they could have yet another depth option for their starting rotation, and one that could contribute in the future as well. If that doesn’t work out, there’s a good chance his lively fastball would play well in the bullpen. He’s just gotta stay healthy in order for any of that to have a chance at happening, and thankfully he’s off to a good start so far.

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