TORONTO – Two teams with their eyes on the future showcased a couple of top prospects in the opener of an interleague series on Friday night at Rogers Centre.
The Toronto Blue Jays called up Cavan Biggio to make his big-league debut while the San Diego Padres unveiled Canadian youngster Josh Naylor for the first time.
Biggio hit .307 over 42 games with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons this season. He had six homers, 26 RBIs and a .949 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging).
The 24-year-old Houston native batted eighth in his first game in the major leagues.
“Everything just becomes real,” Biggio said before the game. “You get to double-A and you get closer. You get to triple-A and you get closer. You get here and you see everything and it’s just surreal. It’s just everything you really dream about.
“You get your last name on the jersey, you get your name in the lineup and you’re going to play in a big-league stadium. It’s all very special.”
Biggio and rookie teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr., have baseball bloodlines.
Biggio is the son of Craig Biggio, a seven-time all-star with the Houston Astros. Guerrero’s father played in nine all-star games and spent the first half of his career with the Montreal Expos.
Friday’s game marked the first time in big-league history that two sons of Hall of Famers will play on the same team, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
“We love each other’s presence,” Biggio said of Guerrero Jr. “We have a lot of fun. I think it’s an unspoken thing, you could say that. Throw in Bo’s (Bichette) name too.
“Us three, we had a lot of success together (in the minor leagues) … I just think we all know how special and how bright the future can be here in Toronto and it’s just kind of the whole start of it.”
Bichette is with the Bisons this season but he has been out for the last month due to a broken left hand.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Biggio would play mostly at second base — his position for Friday’s debut — but could see time in right field and first base this season too.
“It definitely is a positive feeling that guys are getting to this point where we feel like they’ve earned this challenge,” said Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins. “That is a very good feeling throughout (the organization).”
Toronto is the runaway leader in games played by rookies in the major leagues this season with 195, entering play Friday. San Diego was second with 152.
Naylor, a 21-year-old native of Mississauga, Ont., was the 12th overall pick in the 2015 draft by Miami. San Diego acquired him a year later in a seven-player deal that included Andrew Cashner.
Naylor hit .299 with 10 homers in 45 games with triple-A El Paso this season. He batted sixth Friday night as the designated hitter.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet to be honest,” Naylor said before the game. “I’m still calm but I know when the national anthem is being played, it’s going to hit me then. I’ll just take it from there.”
Another Canadian, Cal Quantrill — the son of former Blue Jays pitcher Paul Quantrill — will make his fourth career start for San Diego on Saturday.
The Blue Jays made several roster moves before Friday’s game.
Utilityman Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and left-hander Thomas Pannone were recalled from the Bisons and southpaw Zac Rosscup reported to the active roster.
Infielder Richard Urena and outfielder Billy McKinney were optioned to Buffalo, left-hander Ryan Feierabend was designated for assignment and right-hander Elvis Luciano was placed on the bereavement list.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
© 2019 The Canadian Press