Toronto Blue Jays Notes: Kirk, Belt, Pearson

The Toronto Blue Jays still have the bitter taste in their mouth of their massive upset to the Seattle Mariners in the playoffs last October.

The Blue Jays are once again poised to be one of the top teams in all of baseball this upcoming season.

Here are some noteworthy updates from the Blue Jays' spring training camp:

Alejandro Kirk:

Blue Jays catcher, Alejandro Kirk, has joined the team in camp after being away to witness the birth of his first child.

Although he had been working out on his own in California, he is expected to need about a week of buildup before getting into a Grapefruit League game. To help him prepare for the season, the Blue Jays sent a couple of their coaches to California last week.

While there may be concerns about his readiness for Opening Day, the team is confident that Kirk will get back up to speed quickly and be ready in plenty of time.

The twenty-four-year-old is coming off a solid 2022 season, which saw him post a .285/.372/.415 triple-slash line, 14 home runs, 63 RBIs and 59 runs scored over 139 games.

Brandon Belt

Manager John Schneider said that Brandon Belt is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut for the Blue Jays in about a week. Although Belt participated in fielding drills on Thursday and is considered fully recovered from his knee surgery last September, the team is taking a cautious approach with him this spring.

However, there is no concern about his readiness for Opening Day, and the Blue Jays do not believe he needs many Grapefruit League at-bats to prepare for the season. Belt signed a one-year, $9.3 million contract with the Blue Jays over the winter and is expected to see plenty of at-bats out of the DH spot this year.

The thirty-four-year-old has dealt with injuries over the past two seasons, getting into just 175 games with a .247/.355/.489 triple-slash line, 37 home runs, 82 RBIs and 90 runs scored.

Nate Pearson

After multiple injuries and setbacks derailed his development, former top prospect Nate Pearson is aiming to make an impact in the majors as a high-leverage reliever for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2023.

While he isn't being built up as a starter this spring, the 26-year-old righty has been impressing with his velocity, reportedly sitting in the upper-90s with his fastball and even touching triple digits during recent live batting practice sessions.

Pearson's focus this season will be on preparing for a versatile multi-inning role out of the bullpen, rather than being used as a traditional starter. If he can stay healthy, he could play a key role in Toronto's relief corps and help the team compete in the highly competitive AL East division. Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports