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Blue Jays' Tulowitzki still bitter at former boss with Rockies

Blue Jays SS Troy Tulowitzki made it clear that he's still angry with Rockies GM Jeff Bridich over the July trade that sent him to Toronto.

In a story in Monday's USA Today, Tulowitzki said he and Bridich got into a shouting match over the phone the night he was traded.

"I'll never talk to him, never talk to those people," Tulowitzki said. "You get lied to, straight to your face, you get upset. I believe in forgiveness, but at the same time, I don't plan on being friendly with them, or anything like that."

Tulowitzki also said he preferred the Blue Jays' spring complex in Dunedin to the Rockies' facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"I like this place a lot better than Arizona," Tulowitzki said. "That place was like a country club. Guys got comfortable because it was so nice. This place has a better feel. It reminds you of spring training. The way it's supposed to be."

SLUGGER SITS: Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion missed Monday's intrasquad game a day after having an abscessed tooth pulled.

Manager John Gibbons said the All-Star 1B/DH was not with the team but is not expected to miss any more time.

"He's probably not eating real good right now," Gibbons said.

Yanks: Closer dazzles

TAMPA — Prospect Tyler Wade got an up-close look at Aroldis Chapman and saw why the Yankees left-hander is one of baseball's top relievers.

Wade, a left-handed hitter, was among four minor-leaguers to bat against Chapman during the closer's first batting practice session with the Yankees on Monday.

"It was like a blur," Wade said. "He's got really good breaking stuff. He makes you feel really uncomfortable. I kind of had to guess on him.

"It's what, Feb. 29, and it's tough," Wade added with a laugh.

Chapman threw 25 pitches overall.

"Physically I felt awesome out there," he said through a translator.

Chapman threw the 62 fastest pitches in the big leagues last season, ranging from 103.92 mph to 102.36 mph.

C Carlos Corporan thought Chapman was throwing his fastball around 97-98 mph Monday.

Wade had a swinging strike and foul ball in nine pitches. Chapman broke the bat of Jorge Mateo on foul grounder during a five-pitch sequence that included three swings and misses.

New York Yankees

Key additions: 2B Starlin Castro, LHP Aroldis Chapman, CF Aaron Hicks

Key losses: RHP Adam Warren, LHP Justin Wilson

Spring storylines

Chasing the Babe: By merely approaching the production of his resurgent 2015 season (33 home runs), 40-year-old DH Alex Rodriguez will equal or surpass one of baseball's indelible numbers. Only two years after his season-long suspension for links to PEDs, A-Rod enters his 22nd season 27 homers shy of Babe Ruth's career total of 714. Is there enough remaining in A-Rod's tank, and enough swivel in those surgically mended hips, to make a run at the Bambino?

Redemptive tale? After a mostly forgettable 2015 season (6-10, 4.73 ERA) that ended with his entrance into alcohol rehab, aging lefty CC Sabathia will try to secure the fifth starter's role. Sabathia, who turns 36 in mid July, provided some early optimism with two bullpen sessions before pitchers and catchers even reported to Tampa. If he can conquer his demons and somehow approach the form of Sabathia circa 2012, a decent Yankees rotation could become dominant.

No spending spree: For those still doubting the coming apocalypse, consider the Yankees were the only team not to sign a big-league free agent this winter. Instead of throwing money at marquee names, the Yankees added key components (such as Castro, Chapman) through trades to complement their aging nucleus. That means the core of the offense remains Rodriguez, 39-year-old RF Carlos Beltran and — if healthy — 36-year-old 1B Mark Teixeira.

Philadelphia Phillies

Key additions: RHP Mark Appel, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP David Hernandez, RHP Charlie Morton, RHP Vincent Velasquez

Key losses: CF Peter Bourjos, RHP Ken Giles

Spring storylines

Past meets future: Veteran 1B Ryan Howard, presumably entering his final year in Philly, is expected to pass the torch directly across the infield upon his departure. 3B Maikel Franco, 23, is a potentially sparkling defensive player who had 37 extra-base hits (and an .840 OPS) in 80 games last season. Already sparking comparisons to Hall of Fame predecessor Mike Schmidt, Franco could be the next cornerstone of a franchise in transition.

The Chase is gone: For the first time since 2001, the Phillies will have neither SS Jimmy Rollins nor 2B Chase Utley in their opening day lineup. Rollins was traded to the Dodgers two winters ago, and Utley was dealt to L.A. in August. As a result, Howard and C Carlos Ruiz remain the only holdovers from the group that won five consecutive National League East titles from 2007-11.

Who will take the fifth? A handful of acquisitions will spend Grapefruit League play competing for the fifth starter's job in a pitching rotation fronted by promising righty Aaron Nola and Hellickson, the former Ray. Our dark horse candidate is Velasquez, an Astros second-round pick in 2010. In seven starts for Houston last season, Velasquez, 23, struck out 58 in 552/3 innings, posting a respectable WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) of 1.275.

Toronto Blue Jays

Key additions: RHP Jesse Chavez, RHP Gavin Floyd, LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Drew Storen

Key losses: LHP Mark Buehrle, OF Ben Revere

Spring storylines

Wanted: A leadoff man: To get Storen (from Washington) to fortify their bullpen, the Jays had to give up Revere, their leadoff guy during the playoffs. Veteran Troy Tulowitzki seems a candidate, but it seems neither he nor the club is crazy about having him in that spot. Ultimately, the job could go to CF Kevin Pillar, who had 25 stolen bases in 2015.

Will Stroman stand tall? Sidelined for most of 2015 while recovering from major knee surgery, Stroman — all 5-foot-8 of him — sparkled in September (4-0, 1.67 ERA). Now healthy and on the cusp of his prime (he's only 24), the former Duke University ace appears poised to lead a staff that will be supported by one of the game's most potent batting orders (such as AL MVP Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion).

Watch your step: The departure of Revere leaves leftfield as the Blue Jays' only glaring vacant position, and Michael Saunders seems a prime candidate to fill it — barring any more freak accidents. Saunders, whose bat has provided pop in the past (19 home runs for Seattle in 2012), tore cartilage in his left knee last February when he stepped on a sprinkler head while shagging fly balls. Look for 23-year-old Ontario native Dalton Pompey to emerge as Saunders' stiffest competition for the leftfield gig.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

Blue Jays' Tulowitzki still bitter at former boss with Rockies 02/29/16 [Last modified: Monday, February 29, 2016 9:08pm]
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