|Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Molina makes a catch during practice at spring training. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)
DUNEDIN — Young prospects are in the Blue Jays camp to learn and Jose Molina taught a couple of them lessons they’ll probably not forget.
In the fourth inning of Thursday’s first intrasquad game of the spring, Molina hit a groundball to Cuban bonus-baby shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Perhaps not paying attention to who was running, Hechavarria hurried his throw, launching it into the screen behind first base.
A few moments later, Molina was on second when a fly ball was hit to centre fielder Anthony Gose, who ranged to his left to make the catch. Assuming that Molina was staying put, Gose held the ball and was caught flat-footed when Molina tagged and went to third. By that time, even Gose’s rocket arm could not get the slow-footed, but not slow-witted, catcher at third. One hitter later, Molina scored the game’s first run. His team went on to win, 3-0.
“Those are reminders that a play has got to be finished,” said manager John Farrell. “It just goes to show you, Jose is a heady player who is going to take advantage of minor lapses inside of a game. It was a good lesson for Anthony.”
ZACH ZINGS ’EM IN
Zach Stewart may be a kid fresh out of double-A but he has mastered a rule of pitching that eludes many with far more experience.
“He threw the ball over the plate and challenged guys,” said manager John Farrell. “It’s kind of refreshing to see, really. Not just from him but generally, guys were just filling up the strike zone.”
Stewart worked two perfect innings in the first intrasquad game of the year, facing a lineup that included many of the Blue Jays everyday lineup. He struck out Adam Lind and Jose Bautista and induced groundball outs from Rajai Davis, Juan Rivera, Edwin Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar.
“I try to put the ball over the plate for the most part,” he said. “I like to pitch to contact, just keep the ball down and try to get ground balls. It’s pretty much always been my philosophy to try to get something to happen within the first three pitches. If my stuff’s working, it happens and today was one of those days.”
Stewart is not among the frontrunners in this competition for a rotation spot but if he feeds the tall thinkers a steady diet of what he showed Thursday, he soon will be.