The ball deflected and struck his right pinky, bending it “in a way it shouldn’t have been,” said the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman. A blister of blood developed on the tip, he was in pain for the remainder of Monday’s fight, but got over it, and the next day he woke up stiff.
When things didn’t improve on Wednesday, concern grew, he took an x-ray and held his breath.
A sigh of relief followed when the results showed no fractures, and Biggio was back on Thursday night, going 1 for 3 while recording seven innings of work in the hot turn in a 3-3 draw with Tigers. He was no worse for wear afterwards, grateful to have avoided the attrition from hitting the club this week.
“Absolutely,” he said. “You never want to have a broken bone or anything like that, especially on the eve of the opening. Spring was going well and something like that would have sucked for sure. But there I felt good, a little sore, but nothing that I have never dealt with before.
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Biggio looked more than OK in a 12-length duel with Casey Mize in the first, fouling six shots after going 0-2 behind, all but one at 96 km / h or more, before tearing up a 96.9 mph radiator at right field for a single.
The at-bat highlighted a revised two-stroke approach in which he tries to do something with throws on the limit rather than taking all the time – 10 throws and especially 11 were calls for coins – helped with a Bo-Bichette-like. calmed front foot.
“I was really happy with it just because it’s something I’ve worked on a lot this offseason and this spring training,” said Biggio. “He’s really trying to widen the area a bit on these balls that I’ve been called upon before, or where I’ve been a little too passive. To have a batting like that, against a solid pitcher with some really good stuff, I felt pretty good.
“I like where I am with two strikes right now and it’s paying off. ”
Considering Biggio was the most disciplined hitter in the majors last year with a chase rate of just 16.3% – ahead of Mike Trout’s 17.4% – giving up a force might seem illogical.
He recognizes it, but says, “I’m just trying to do that right now in spring training, just trying to see what it does for me.” I’m not really saying that’s what I’m going to do at the start of the season, but just kind of working on stuff and trying to hit some pitches that have been hard for me to hit, just if it’s in. outside the area. or whatever, just with two hits.
“The non-stride has helped me a lot with that and also to see the ball a lot longer with less movement. ”
MATZ SPRING FINAL: Steven Matz concluded an auspicious rebound, registering 5.1 two-run innings and hitting 81 shots, including 55 hits. He carried a fastball that averaged 94 mph in the sixth, walking two and hitting three a night when he wasn’t feeling “as sharp as you’d like.
“These are the days you go out and fight,” he says. “I felt it worked too. There was a lot of traffic and that’s important, turn around the traffic, get out of the stretch with guys in scoring position. I have a really good job today. I’m happy. ”
Matz’s next launch day would be next Tuesday and if it stays on schedule the Blue Jays wouldn’t confirm it will likely take place in a mock game.
That would see him pitch Sunday in the season opener against the Yankees. In previous seasons, he has reduced the workload during the final tune-up of the camp and he will discuss it again with pitching coach Pete Walker.
Either way, he feels that the camp provided him with a solid springboard for the new season.
“I really think I prepared myself well,” he said. “I took some things working with Pete (Walker, the pitching coach, related to his signals on the mound) and implemented them into the game, and I feel like it just happened. really translated. So I’m really happy with my delivery situation, my shots, my state of mind – that’s the pitcher I am and how to attack hitters.
“I felt like I definitely learned a lot this spring. I’m excited for the season and ready to play meaningful games now. ”
PRIVATE PITCH: Rafael Dolis and Ryan Borucki have not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 13, but both relievers have been busy on the backfields.
Dolis kicked off a side session on Thursday and is set to play in one of the remaining four games of the spring, while Borucki pitched mock games on the 16th, 19th and Wednesday, recording two innings, with two goals and one strikeout.
The Blue Jays have spent much of the spring hiding some pitchers from the Yankees, and with a game against them every three days due to COVID risk mitigation, it has caused them to make generous use of the backgrounds. It is not known if this is what motivated the decisions with Dolis and Borucki.
SHORT HOPS: Infielder Joe Panik and southpaw Tommy Milone both had strikeouts in their minor league contracts which expired at midnight Thursday. The Blue Jays were expected to make it clear whether they would be on the squad or not. Lefty Francisco Liriano has an outing this weekend. … The Blue Jays said the closest Kirby Yates had Tommy John surgery as scheduled on Wednesday. His season is over. … Alek Manoah was on Thursday again, knocking out four batters in two shutout innings against the Tigers. In three appearances so far, he has struck out 15 batters in seven frames.