Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Detroit Tigers was significant because it’s the first game of the Blue Jays’ highly anticipated brave new world. It’s one of the few spring results that will have any meaning by the time they head north.
It was the first game back at the helm for manager John Gibbons and despite some gaffes, bobbles and boots, the Jays cobbled together a 10-3 win in a game televised to a northern fan base eager to see what everyone’s been talking about all winter.
In the end, none of the Jays’ big names sealed this victory. Most of the stars, like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Melky Cabrera and Jose Reyes, didn’t even make the 55-minute bus ride. Instead, it was a 27-year-old journeyman infielder, Lance Zawadzki, who came off the bench and hammered a grand slam deep to right field off Tigers left-hander Ryan Robowski to break a 3-3 tie. This felt good, but there are feel-good stories like this each spring in every camp.
“The best thing is just the confidence,” Zawadzki said. “It felt good being able to square something up and get a good hit like that. Just being a new guy to an organization, it’s always nice to get that opportunity to do something early on. Hopefully it’ll open some eyes. It’s something you wouldn’t forget even if it’s spring training or an intra-squad.”
Journeyman Lance Zawadzki gets Grapefruit League season off to good start
Toronto Star | Feb 24