By Bob Elliott
Some training camp numbers on your Toronto Blue Jays as they prepare for this must-win season:
The numbers include 65 players in Dunedin, which could change … depending on those sent minor-league camp, or the next waiver claim … or maybe the next high-priced closer arriving from elsewhere (just kidding on that one.)
0. Swings or pitches this spring from the Jays 2014 first round picks. Right-hander Jeff Hoffman, selected ninth over-all from East Carolina, had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in May and is not scheduled to see game action until this May. Catcher Max Pentecost, selected 11th overall from Kennesaw State, underwent shoulder surgery recently. He had a shoulder surgery after the last season and won’t be able to throw until May.
3. Canadians expected to be in the opening-day roster: Montreal catcher Russell Martin, left fielder Michael Saunders of Victoria, B.C. and. Mississauga centre fielder Dalton Pompey. Andrew Albers of North Battleford, Sask. and Jeff Francis of North Delta, B.C. are in camp as non-roster invites.
3. World Series rings: One owned by infielder Jonathan Diaz, with the 2013 Boston Red Sox, coach DeMarlo Hale (2007 Red Sox) and Buehrle (2005 White Sox). Day one equipment man Jeff Ross has two.
5. Possible opening day returnees on April 6: first baseman Edwin Encarnacion — if he is not the DH: second baseman Maicer Izturis — if he wins the job and catcher Josh Thole — if Martin can’t catch R.A. Dickey’s knuckle ball, plus Bautista and Reyes.
5. Jays ranked in Major League Network Top 10 Right Now ratings: Josh Donaldson is second amongst third baseman behind Adrian Beltre and Bautista is second amongst right fielders behind Giancarlo Stanton.
Reyes is fourth on the shortstop list behind Troy Tulowitzki, Jhonny Peralta and Ian Desmond; Martin fifth amongst catchers behind Buster Posey, Jonathan Lucroy, Yadier Molina and Yan Gomes; Encarnacion sixth at first trailing Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Abreu, Joey Votto and Freddie Freeman.
10. Former No. 1 picks: Francis (selected ninth over-all in North America in 2002 by the Colorado Rockies) the highest, Marcus Stroman(22nd, 2012, Jays) the most recent and R.A. Dickey (18th, 1996, Rangers) has been around the longest since his draft day.
In between are first baseman Daric Barton (28th, 2003, Cardinals), Kyle Drabek (18th, 2006, Phillies), Brett Cecil (38th, 2007, Jays), Donaldson (48th, 2007, Cubs), Justin Smoak (11th, 2008, Rangers), Chad Jenkins (20th, 2009, Jays) and RHP Aaron Sanchez (34th, 2010, Jays). That’s not counting Ricky Romero (sixth over-all in 2005 by the Jays), who will be at minor-league camp next month.
16. Infielders: Ryan Goins, Justin Smoak, Matt Hague, Steve Tolleson, Danny Valencia, Jonathan Diaz, Jake Fox, Munenori Kawasaki, Mitch Nay, Ramon Santiago, Devon Travis, Reyes, Donaldson, Encarnacion, Izturis and Barton.
18. To-1 odds on Jays winning the World Series.
20. Different states represented on camp, with the most coming from Florida, California and Texas. Besides the USA players are from seven other countries the Dominican Republic, Australia, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan, Nicaragua and Canada.
22. Seasons since the Jays were in post-season play (come October), longest active drought in baseball.
28. Of the Jays’ first 35 scheduled games on will be against American League East teams: nine against the defending champion Baltimore Orioles, seven facing the Tampa Bay Rays, six vs. the Boston Red Sox and six playing the Yankees.
33. Spring games scheduled beginning March 3 and finishing April 3-4 against the Cincinnati Reds at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
77. Transactions (signings, trades, departures and other in-and out movements) by the Jays since the end of the season including waiver claims Schultz from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Smoak from Seattle, Dirks from Detroit, Preston Guilmet from Pittsburgh, Barnes and West from Texas, as well as Oramas from San Diego.
77. Number worn by second baseman Devon Travis, highest in camp.
82 1/2. Over/under total of wins for the Jays, set by Bodog sports book.