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Toronto Blue Jays base runner Rajai Davis slides back into first base ahead of the tag by Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano (L) during a run down between first and second base in the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (MIKE CASSESE)
Toronto Blue Jays base runner Rajai Davis slides back into first base ahead of the tag by Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano (L) during a run down between first and second base in the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (MIKE CASSESE)

Toronto 'Speed Club' holds first meeting Add to ...

It is a club within the ball club.

It is loosely referred to as the Speed Club with Rajai Davis, the new Toronto centre fielder, the founder, lead teacher and chief bottle washer.

J.P. Arencibia, who belted two home runs in his home opener debut that helped the Blue Jays crush the Minnesota Twins 13-3 at Rogers Centre Friday night, also poked his first career triple en route to five RBIs.

A relatively slow-footed catcher, Arencibia is a member of the Speed Club although he said that wasn't a factor in his triple, when he spanked the ball to the wall in centrefield that scored two runs in the fifth inning and brought the score to 10-0.

"Thank God it bounced 100 feet away from the centre fielder," the rookie said. "If not I probably would not get to third base."

Arencibia said he has attended a couple of the classes, which Davis started holding during spring training, usually in the clubhouse about 30 minutes before game time.

Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill and Edwin Encarnacion are other teammates who count themselves among Davis' students.

"There's different stretches and different things that he does," Arencibia. "It's pretty funny. It started off with him and it's kind of grown."

Davis finished second in the American League last season in with 50 stolen bases playing for the Oakland Athletics.

Friday night against the Twins, he and Yunel Escobar successfully executed a double steal, something the Blue Jays did not accomplish even once last year.

"Before the end of it people are really going to know who Rajai Davis is," Arencibia said. "The guy's an unbelievable player. He's got that confidence as a player you need to be great. He works hard. He's one of the better guys I've ever been around in the clubhouse.

"He himself has brought a lot to this team just by the way he plays hard. Even from spring training, base hits turning into doubles. That kind of stuff spreads around. I'm slow but that makes me want to do things like that.

Bautista, who stroked his first home run of the game in the fifth, will readily admit he is not exactly a speed burner.

He said he's hopeful Davis can teach him a few tricks.

"It's huge having a guy like that with a lot of speed," Bautista said. "He can teach you a couple things and I'm talking to him all the time about running and I want to improve that aspect of my game.

"He's definitely a guy to look at. He's the fastest guy on our team and probably one of the fastest in the league."

The victory was the first of John Farrell's managing career and he said he couldn't have scripted it much better.

The Blue Jays scored four runs in the first inning and were aggressive on the base paths while also managing to swat four home runs.

It made for a comfortable night for Ricky Romero, the Toronto starter who was solid and earned the victory in his first opening day start.

"There were a lot of good things that happened tonight," Farrell said. "Offensively, obviously the number of hard hit balls and what J.P. did himself, an outstanding game all-round.

"Equal to the way he swung the bat was the way he handled Ricky tonight."

After struggling through the spring with a wimpy .161 batting average, Arencibia said he was not concerned with his swing heading into the regular season.

"Like I've said a hundred times, I wasn't worried about my bat," he said. "My job is to go out there and catch and put up zeros and give this team an opportunity to win and compete every night.

"And the bat is secondary."

Friday night it was front and centre.

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