Blue Jays claim victory behind Ryu, Springer and Bichette, Votto makes emotional comeback

Blue Jays claim victory behind Ryu, Springer and Bichette, Votto makes emotional comeback

TORONTO — Joey Votto described himself as the most excited at home, so much so that the feeling gave him goosebumps and cost him sleep.

He grew up seven miles from the Rogers Center and regularly walked past the dome and the CN Tower during his growing up summers when he drove downtown to catch up with his dad at work. “There is great meaning (to returning to the city),” he said. “Really great significance.”

Of course then, he conceded, he allowed himself to reflect on what it might be like to play for the Toronto Blue Jays, the team he grew up on. The 38-year-old first baseman’s journey has taken him in a different direction. He is now nearing the end of what has been a legacy career with the Cincinnati Reds, but the hometown club has never been far off his radar.

“There are three important teams in my life,” he said on Friday. “When I got drafted, I thought I was going to be a Yankee. My late dad wanted me to be a Yankee. We were wooed by the Yankees as the draft approached. Then the Reds picked me, so it’s the second team, and the most important team.”

“And the Toronto Blue Jays are my childhood team. The team I still have family and friends on asking me questions. Highlighting how well the team is doing. Coming to a game 2015 playoffs and sitting in the stands after getting knocked out, grumpy at Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, my friends.

Votto’s long-term commitment to the Reds in 2012 — when he signed a 10-year, $225 million extension until next year with a club option for 2024 — essentially negated that possibility. He would have been the perfect addition for the 2015-16 Blue Jays, when Cincinnati last sold its core, but now, in the midst of the club’s last shave, as it tries to find its swing after a terrible start and fighting COVID -19, the fit is less certain.

Granted, his profile — a high-OBP, high-IQ, powerhouse left-handed hitter — is a need for the Blue Jays, who put up an RBI single from George Springer, a brace from Bo Bichette and six shutout innings from Hyun Jin. Ryu in a 2-1 win Friday night.

But Votto started the night with an OPS of 0.413 in 22 games and “just fixed the mistake,” he said. And while he’s absolutely correct in noting that he’s had “very few bad moments in my career and I’ve always corrected them,” how much of what’s left of his $25 million in salary this year and the next, plus the $7m buyout on his 2024 option should the Reds pay to make him a bet anyone is willing to take?

Given the way the Reds have hacked the wage bill over the winter, finding common ground with any team is unlikely, and Votto would have the final say on his destination, which he has earned and that he deserves.

Now, maybe the equation would change if he was packed with right-hander Luis Castillo, who allowed two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in an impressive six innings on Friday. The 29-year-old was making his third start of the season since recovering from a shoulder injury and is among the game’s most electric starters, but as a free agent on hold after the next season he is part of the Reds’ past, not their future. .

Therefore, there is room for creativity for any team that wants it.

The priority for the Blue Jays this summer, at least as things look to shape, has to be a left-handed hitter who can make an impact. Ideally it’s an outfielder or someone who can bounce around the diamond, but with the DH spot currently cycled around the roster to handle the workload, they can stick any acquisition there and not care positional adjustment.

Flexibility to DH is useful, although sacrificing that for another offensive piece is a worthwhile trade-off.

“Yeah, as any manager can tell you, if we get to DH swinging the bat and being there every day, I’m all for it,” Charlie Montoyo said. “At the moment we don’t have this guy, so we’re using the DH spot to give the guys half a day.”

The Blue Jays did it on Friday, using Springer at DH and starting Bradley Zimmer at center with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. still working through a hamstring strain. Zimmer doubled twice, including in the fifth to spark the decisive two-point rally.

Ryu made it count despite having 12 balls in play at 94.9 mph or more, six of them in triple digits. The veteran southpaw, in his second outing since returning from a forearm inflammation, allowed a brace in five of his six innings but found a zero each time, aided by strong defensive positioning.

Still, his fastball averaged 89.7 mph and he hit 92.9, his hardest pitch of the year, creating a 10.1 mph separation from his change, which generated five of his seven puffs.

“As a guy who we can command his change and his fastball with life, that’s how I attack hitters,” Ryu said through interpreter JS Park. “If I’m able to sustain that, it’s just going to keep growing.”

The contact against the two underscored the importance of his change to help control bat speed, as well as the defensive alignment to better support him.

One of the five doubles came from Votto, who ripped a 99mph right ball with two outs in the sixth, but was blocked when Kyle Farmer lined up at 102.6mph right to Raimel Tapia in left field.

“The process is that the front office gathers information for us, sends it, we review it, making sure we’re all on the same page about what we’re trying to do,” the coach said. from first base Mark Budzinski, who positions the outfielders. “I hope most of the time you are in the right place. It’s not perfect science, but we try to give our guys a chance to make plays.

The Reds made it a run in seventh on Matt Reynolds’ RBI single but Adam Cimber, Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano, in his first outing since a gastrointestinal infection, locked it out.

For Votto, a 1-for-4 matchday is a start as he attempts to redirect his season. He came back from IL with a plan and his diagnostic process strays from too much data.

“I feel like with more information it gets more complicated, like you start to spiral down,” he explained. “I tried to keep it very simple. I’m more of a feel hitter. When I have too much information, I complicate things. I’m at my best. When it’s simple, it’s instinctive, it’s natural.

No better place than home for that.

#Blue #Jays #claim #victory #Ryu #Springer #Bichette #Votto #emotional #comeback

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *