The Blue Jays’ lineup Wednesday had the distinct look of an opening day batting order except, perhaps, for catcher J.P. Arencibia, who could be replaced behind the plate if R.A. Dickey is assigned a personal catcher.
But the top four is a certainty — Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion — all Dominican, a quartet combining to earn $40 million (U.S.).
“You don’t see that often in the big leagues — four guys from the Dominican, one after the other,” Encarnacion said. “It’s very fun. We’re going to try and enjoy it and keep it all season long.”
Manager John Gibbons should have known it was going to be a long day. Anthem singer Jeff Fuller went to two strikes on ‘O Canada,’ starting and stopping twice after finding himself at a loss for words. Then he proceeded to mangle the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ as well. For the home team, it didn’t get much better from there, as the Jays suffered a 10-1 defeat at the hands of the sad-sack Astros.
Reyes, the offensive crown-jewel of the Marlins trade, led the first inning off with a bloop single to right-centre then added a line-drive single and an infield chopper, a perfect 3-for-3 performance, raising his spring average to .625.
The top four in the order were 4-for-12.
“It’s easy because I’ve known those guys for a long time,” Reyes said of the four amigos. “It’s good to be a part of this team with so many not just Dominican players, you know, but great American players, too. There are some good players around this club. I feel very comfortable here.”
In New York with the Mets and in Miami with the Marlins, Reyes was expected to take on somewhat of a leadership role in the clubhouse, especially with the Latin-American players. With the Jays, that role is left in the hands of Bautista and Reyes recognizes that fact.
“There’s no doubt, as soon as (Jose) walks in the clubhouse, he’s the guy,” Reyes said. “He has a lot of energy, too. Everybody looks up to him. He’s one of the best players in the big leagues. You know he always had the talent, but he never had the right opportunity to play every day and now he’s a superstar.”