Tellez channels early lessons from Blue Jays greats in his spring training approach

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This being his seventh big-league spring training, Rowdy Tellez has learned more than a thing or two from a couple of generations of Blue Jays teammates, much of which has stuck with him.

In those earlier years, the big first baseman/designated hitter took fastidious notes on observations from some big-time teammates, lessons he benefits the deeper he gets into his career.

As he looks to make himself indispensable this spring, Tellez admits he still reverts back to some of the advice gleaned from such former Jays greats as Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki.

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“This is my seventh spring training and I’ve been fortunate to be around MVPs, home run kings, Cy Young (winners) … guys who have been among the highest levels and achieved the highest accolades,” Tellez said after opening Grapefruit League play in style Sunday afternoon in Tampa with a pair of hits and two RBI in a 6-4 Jays win.

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“I’ve watched them and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken tidbits from each guy on how to prepare.”

Tellez is certainly one of the Jays to watch this spring based on his torrid September last year, an offensive explosion that was halted only by a knee injury. As a rare left-handed bat at manager Charlie Montoyo’s disposal, Tellez brings his share of power to the order.

Tellez said he learned plenty from the three veterans he mentioned, especially in terms of preparation for the season. You can’t do it all in one day of the long spring training campaign, especially when factoring in what the work is for — the grind that awaits from the longest season in North American professional sports.

“It’s not always ‘hey, let’s go all out every day.’ It’s we have to get ready for 162,” Tellez said. “I think over time and over the years from those teammates, I’ve learned how to handle spring training and take each day and be prepared.

“Those were the days when I was young. You’ve got two eyes, two ears one mouth so pipe down and listen. That was something that helped me a lot. Those were pivotal moments for me.”

The specifics of one short afternoon at Steinbrenner Field won’t be classified as pivotal for Tellez, considering he faced just four pitches and as DH didn’t see the field. But when it comes to workload during Grapefruit League games, Tellez says bring it on.

“All of them. I want as many at-bats as possible,” Tellez said. “I’m still a young player. I just want to be as ready as I can for Day 1, so whatever the staff allots me batting situation-wise, ant how many at-bats, I’m just going to take very one.

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“I want as many as I can.”

Of course with a deep lineup, Tellez won’t be alone in lobbying for a spot in the order, a nice problem for Montoyo to have.

“I’ll take that pressure any day I’ll be good with that,” Montoyo said. “I know it’s spring training but it’s good to see guys have good approaches already. And Rowdy had a good game today and looked really good.”

GAME ON

In what seems to be a theme with these Jays, a fit-looking Anthony Kay was sharp in two hitless innings of work, throwing 17 strikes from 25 pitches with a fastball topping out at 97 mph. “His fastball had life and it was good to see,” Montoyo said. “He’s competing for a job in the starting rotation for sure.” … The Jays’ first homer of the spring went to Logan Warmoth, the 2017 first-round pick whose progress through the system has been slower than expected … It was a rough ride for Jacob Waguespack, who is battling for a bullpen spot. Two of the four Yankees hitters he faced blasted back-to-back home runs … In a move that could be standard operating procedure this spring, the Jays took batting practice at their Dunedin training complex then took the short bus ride to Tampa’s Steinbrenner Field … Montoyo will continue with his plan to ease superstar free-agent acquisition George Springer into exhibition play. Springer will make his debut on Tuesday as DH in a home game against the Phillies at TD Ballpark … The Jays acquired LHP Travis Bergen from Arizona in exchange for cash considerations. RHP Patrick Murphy was placed on the 60-day injured list with a sprained right A/C joint.

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TV TIMEOUT

Hope you enjoyed that Yankees telecast of the Jays spring training opener. Next game scheduled to air on Canadian TV is slated for March 12 … Different times and certainly the pandemic is a complicating factor (although not an catch-all excuse), but it’s impossible to imagine this broadcast debacle happening under previous regimes, both at Sportsnet and the Jays. When Scott Moore was running the network, he helped build the Jays brand to heights it had never seen across Canada. And previous team president Paul Beeston was there to help make it happen. That type of unified approach certainly doesn’t exist now, with the Jays getting an alarmingly diminished broadcast presence hinting at a major disconnect between the highest offices of the two Rogers Communications divisions … It’s not the first time Jays fans were subject to a YES Yankees broadcast, but given the events of this week, it was more annoying than usual being forced to listen to detailed reports on New York prospects.

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