George Springer crashes into wall, leaves game

In quite possibly the worst Friday evening news dump ever, George Springer has left the Toronto Blue Jays’ Friday night game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Springer crashed into the wall at center field trying to catch a flyball.  He stayed down on the ground briefly with the Jays’ training staff to check up on him, but he initially stayed in the game.

The play that caused George Springer to leave today’s Blue Jays game vs the Rays
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 14, 2022

After grounding out in the top of the third, Ramiel Tapia took over his spot. It goes without saying but this is far from great news for the Jays. Staying positive is about all we can do, but it’s hard to not think back to his debut season in Toronto last year where he battled with a quad injury for what seemed like forever.
Springer’s been off to a strong start to his season slashing .283/.344/.531 while ripping seven dingers and 18 RBI. On top of that, he’s also been a vocal leader for this club helping to steer the ship.
According to Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae, Springer held a closed door, players only meeting Wednesday after the loss to the Yankees, where he had a general theme of staying positive.
“My main message was to slow down. It’s all good. It’s just baseball.”
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

With the 60th overall pick, the Blue Jays could select…

On Friday, we looked at who the Blue Jays could possibly pick with their 23rd overall pick. Today, we’ll be looking at prospects who the Jays could pick with their second round pick, which is the 60th overall.

One thing to note is that after the first 10 picks or so, anything can happen. For example, Groshans was selected with the 12th overall pick in 2018, despite him being ranked as the 31st best draft prospect that season.
Since 2016, the draft prospect ranked 60th went 96th (2016), 49th (2017), 81st (2018), 39th (2019), 61st (2020), undrafted (2021). All of this is to say that after a certain point, the draft is a complete crapshoot and teams base their picks off their scouting, instead of MLB Pipeline. 
All but two of these picks rank before 60th on MLB Pipeline, but I think the Jays could have interest in all eight of these players. We’ll start with the highest ranked draft prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
For this pick, the Jays have a signing pool bonus of $1,216,100.
Justin Campbell:
After graduating high school, Justin Campbell was chosen in the 18th round of the 2019 draft by the Houston Astros. Instead of signing for the Astros, he decided to follow his commitment to Oklahoma State.
Now a junior, the 21-year-old right handed pitcher has put up solid numbers this season. In 70.1 innings pitched, he has a 3.20 ERA and a K/9 of 12.8 compared to a BB/9 of 1.9. For his entire college career, he has a 3.04 ERA in 174.2 innings pitched, along with a K/9 of 11.5 and BB/9 of 2.5.

Hello, Justin Campbell! Nasty 12-6 breaking ball on the outside corner carves up Enrique Bradfield. Definitive starter traits. Projection too.
No. 79 on the @ProspectsLive 300.
— …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Chapman is Looking to Fill the Void Left by Semien, and he’s had a Great Start

Do you recall what you were doing at 5 in the morning on Friday, March 18th? 

Personally, I was about three hours into my sleep about to be unwillingly woken up by my kittens. Do you want to know what Matt Chapman was doing? The new Blue Jays third baseman was already at the training facility, ready to work.

Bo Bichette and Santiago Espinal arrived at the #BlueJays complex at 6:15am. Asked if they knew what time new teammate Matt Chapman was scheduled to show up today.
Espinal: “oh, he’s here already. He got here at 5am.”
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 18, 2022

While Santiago was incorrect in regards to the time, it does leave a good first impression with the fans, the front office and his fellow players. Not just that, but from interviews you can tell that the third baseman is excited to be a part of this team.

Matt Chapman on what time he arrived: “think I told them 5:55a..was here at 6am..I knew I was gonna have a busy day… wanted to make sure I could meet all my teammates…I’m now part of the breakfast club… I couldn’t sleep either, felt like my first day of school.” #BlueJays
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 18, 2022

The similarities to former Blue Jays infielder, Marcus Semien are present. Like Semien, Chapman spent the previous season with the Oakland Athletic’s, but struggled offensively. For Semien, the move paid off well, as he signed a seven year, $175 million contract. Chapman spoke with the former Jay, who said that the 28-year-old third baseman would love it in Toronto.

Matt Chapman spoke to Former #BlueJays Marcus Semien on joining the organization:
“He gave me about as much of an update as he could, and just told me how much I’m going to love it (here), and love the guys.”
*Chapman with George Springer …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

WATCH: What’s going on with Pavel Gogolev?

On Friday, it was announced that Pavel Gogolev was being sent to the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL.
After a strong season last year, he’s struggled to  find his game this time around.
I discuss that, Curtis Douglas’ good cause for mental health, when Dmitry Ovchinnikov might be coming to Canada, and a clip from my Q&A with Alex Steeves!
I hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs sign Dmitry Ovchinnikov to entry level contract

The Leafs announced on Friday that the club has signed Dmitry Ovchinnikov to a three-year entry level contract. Ovchinnikov, 19, was selected by the Leafs in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft.

We’ve signed forward Dmitry Ovchinnikov to a three-year entry level contract.#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 18, 2022

Ovchinnikov had been playing in Sibir Novosobirsk’s program with the majority of his playing time coming at the junior level in the MHL. In 40 MHL games last season, he registered 20 goals and 31 assists for one of the highest points per game averages in the league. His strong play was enough to warrant a callup to the KHL but he received very little ice time as an 18-year-old.
The story this season has been much of the same. He has been dominant at the junior level once again with 29 points through 22 games but has often been used as the 13th forward, going entire games without a single shift at the KHL level. Sibir is one of the few KHL teams without a VHL affiliate so there was no middle ground for Ovchinnikov between the top league and the junior level.

#LeafsForever prospect Dmitri Ovchinnikov records his first career KHL point with a nice assist on Dmitri Sayustov’s 11th goal of the season.
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) February 21, 2021

Ovchinnikov had signed a contract extension with Sibir back in August that was slated to run through the 2023 season but it was reported early Friday morning that his KHL deal had been terminated, leading to speculation that he was set to join another KHL club. Instead, he has signed his first NHL contract …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The TLN Three Stars: They all deserve stars, what’s not to love about this team?

After an exciting 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks on Friday night and a very rare Saturday night off, the Toronto Maple Leafs made their way to the Honda Center as they looked to take to take on the Anaheim Ducks to close off their road trip. As the puck dropped for the first, both teams had a lot of good chances and the energy was high on both ends of the ice. Auston Matthews opened up scoring in the second period, followed by another from Michael Bunting just a few minutes later. As the puck dropped for the third, Alexander Kerfoot wasted absolutely no time and added another to the tally, making it 3-0 just 17 seconds into the period. The Ducks eventually got one on the board as Hampus Lindholm got the puck past Jack Campbell later on in the third period. William Nylander was able to add an empty-netter, and they weren’t done there as Wayne Simmonds scored another less than 20 seconds later making it 5-1, and the Leafs ended the night and their road trip with a big win.
3rd Star: Michael Bunting
With a beautiful goal (and an assist!) in the second period, Bunting …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed reliever Yimi Garcia

A late Friday transaction! That’s what you love to see!

According to Jon Morosi, who cites former All-Star Carlos Baerga’s Instagram, the Blue Jays have signed relief pitcher Yimi Garcia. Baerga has been right about stuff in the past and I can’t possibly imagine anybody making up a fake transaction in regards to Yimi Garcia, so this seems legit.

Yimi García has agreed to a contract with #BlueJays, source confirms. Credit to Carlos Baerga, the 3-time All-Star infielder, for breaking the news on Instagram. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 28, 2021

So, who’s Yimi Garcia?
He broke into the big leagues with the Dodgers in 2014, pitched a lot in 2015, got hurt in 2016, missed all of 2017, and came back as a pretty effective arm in 2019. The Dodgers cut Garcia loose after that and he signed with the Marlins, where he would toss 15 scoreless innings in the shortened 2020 season.
Garcia was again good for the Marlins in 2021, as he put up a 3.47 ERA over 39 outings, though he outperformed his peripherals, 8.7 strikeouts per nine and 3.3 walks per nine. He was flipped to the Houston Astros ahead of the trade deadline and had the opposite situation, an ugly 5.48 ERA with good …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Keith Petruzzelli is a Growlers prospect to keep an eye on

On Friday afternoon, Newfoundland Growlers goaltender Keith Petruzzelli was called up to the AHL. With Erik Kallgren injured, the organization saw fit to give the opportunity for the 22-year old netminder to make the jump in competition and show what he’s got.
Petruzzelli has had a fantastic start to his professional career. In five games with the Growlers, he posted a 4-1 record and a .952 save percentage that ranks him second among ECHL goaltenders with at least 5 games played. He was also named the ECHL goalie of the week for the first week of the season (October 24th) and October’s Goalie of the Month.
Standing 6’5 and 185 pounds, “Petz” is an absolute wall between the pipes, he sees the ice exceptionally well and has exhibited both sound positioning and dynamite athleticism needed to go far as a pro. He doesn’t just rely on his size to stop pucks, and has made some absolute 10-bell saves needed to keep the Growlers in some of the tighter contests they’ve played with him in the net. The foundation is all there of a player with NHL potential, it’s up to him to seize the most of his current opportunity.

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Jack Campbell could end up starting both tonight and tomorrow night

Like anyone on a Friday, everyone is asking Sheldon what he’s up to this weekend. For some reason, he’s being weird and cagey about it, like he’s got something to hide about his plans this weekend. Specifically, he’s not revealing which goaltender will start Saturday night’s game. Here was his quote from today:

Full quote from Keefe on goalie plan for Saturday: “We’re going to focus on today. Jack’s going to play today. We have a plan, of course, but we’re holding until we have all the information before the next game that we’re just going to focus on tonight’s game.”
— David Alter (@dalter) November 12, 2021

We know that Jack Campbell is getting the nod for this evening’s tilt against Calgary, but for tomorrow’s game against Buffalo, all we know is that they “have a plan”.
With Joseph Woll backing up Campbell in Petr Mrazek’s absence due to a re-aggravated groin injury, it was assumed that he would get his first NHL start on Saturday. And that could very well still be the case. But with Keefe acting like my relationships in my early 20’s and refusing to commit, …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays jump the Yankees in the standings after taking three of four from Baltimore

Save for Friday night’s meltdown, that was a successful weekend for the Blue Jays.

They hosted the Orioles for a four-game series and took three wins. It easily could have been four if the bullpen didn’t implode and blow a 5-1 lead, but three out of four ain’t bad.
Elsewhere, the Yankees got swept in a three-game series by the Red Sox at Fenway. That puts Boston back in first place in the American League East with a 47-31 record while the Yankees slide down to fourth with a 40-37 record. The Blue Jays sit in third at 40-36, six games back of the Sox.
Next up, Toronto faces Seattle, another one of the weak opponents we had circled on the calendar.
Despite being a pretty bad team on paper, the Mariners are rolling right now. They’ve won seven of their last nine games and swept the Rays in a four-game series last week. They also just took two of three from the White Sox, so this won’t be quite as automatic as Miami and Baltimore were.
The funny thing is that Seattle and Toronto have nearly identical records despite being nowhere close in terms …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation