The first official spring-training workout for Toronto Blue Jays' pitchers and catchers is on Feb. 14 in Dunedin, Fla., with the first full-team practice slated for Feb. 18.
Here are some of the main storylines to watch for:
Can Adam Lind make the transition from designated hitter to first base?
It was a common sight near the end of last season, Adam Lind hauling around a first baseman's glove and taking grounders at the corner infielder's position even though he was the designated hitter.
When the Blue Jays dispatched first-base prospect Brett Wallace to the Houston Astros in the deal that landed minor-league outfielder Anthony Gose, the rumblings were that Lind would have to learn a new position. And when Lyle Overbay left town as a free agent, it became official.
This will be Lind's third full season in the majors but he's had only eight starts at first base, all last year. While his glove won't be his worst enemy, his footwork around the bag is the one area the 27-year-old will need to concentrate on in the spring.
Is Kyle Drabek ready for prime time?
No other player at spring training will get as much attention as this 23-year-old, who was the centrepiece of the 2009 Roy Halladay trade, and who is expected to crack the starting rotation.
Considered the team's top prospect, Drabek turned heads last season when he hurled a no-hitter against Double-A competition playing for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. When called up in September, he didn't look out of place in the three starts for the Blue Jays.
Able to generate outs with his fastball, late-breaking curve, cutter and changeup, Drabek is being encouraged to pace himself better when he gets into jams, to feel comfortable allowing his defence to help him out.
How will J.P. Arencibia fare behind the plate?
The time is now for this 25-year-old, who has proven all he can at the minor-league level.
With the steady John Buck moving to the Florida Marlins as a free agent, Arencibia will inherit the starting catcher's role, and will look after what will be one of baseball's youngest starting rotations.
As he showed in his ballyhooed major-league debut last year, when he crunched two home runs and added two more hits in five plate appearances, Arencibia's bat should not be an issue. It will be his defensive work, especially his ability to call a game, that will determine if Arencibia can blossom for the Blue Jays.
How will the team score runs?
The Blue Jays were notorious for their all-or-nothing approach last season, relying on a major-league-leading 257 home runs to fuel much of their offence. With the departure of Vernon Wells (31 home runs), Buck (20) and Overbay (20), the Blue Jays have lost some significant pop at the plate.
New manager John Farrell has said he would like to see a more balanced offensive attack this season, and the addition of Rajai Davis is a good first step. Davis, who will take over from Wells as the every-day centre fielder and bat leadoff, stole 50 bases last season with Oakland. The Blue Jays haven't had that kind of threat since 1998, when Shannon Stewart swiped 51 bags.
With Lind and Aaron Hill expected to have bounce-back seasons at the plate, the Blue Jays should be more adventurous on the basepaths, employing a little more hit-and-run, first-to-third philosophy under Farrell's watch.
Can Jose Bautista be a happy - not to mention productive - camper at third base?
Nobody is expecting Bautista to match the kind of year he had last season when he more than tripled his season-best by swatting 54 home runs to lead the majors.
But you don't want to mess with a guy's psyche after that kind of year, which is precisely what the Blue Jays, barring another move by general manager Alex Anthopoulos, will do with Bautista.
The 30-year-old will be Toronto's full-time third baseman this season, switching from right field, where his cannon of a right arm made runners think twice before trying to take an extra bag.
Bautista can play either position with authority, but has expressed a preference to remain in right if he has the choice.
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