By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)
Canadian Baseball Network
Spring Training is well underway, and with a mere two and a half weeks until Opening Day, many baseball fans are poking their heads out from winter hibernation and getting ready for the new season. Just in case you haven't been obsessively checking their social media all winter, here's a quick look at what the boys in blue have been up to since we last saw them play a real game.
Russell Martin did a lot of working out over the offseason, as evidenced by numerous videos posted to his Instagram. He also took a trip to Europe and put on a charity wiffle ball tournament in Montreal against stunt-baseball team Les 4 Chevaliers (basically the baseball equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters, but French-Canadian).
Chris Colabello spent his first full winter as a Blue Jay exploring Canada. The first baseman visited Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Halifax on various press events with the Jays. He made friends with the Edmonton Oilers and adopted an adorable French Bulldog named Clutch, before spending the last few weeks in a batting cage with teammates in Florida. He also grew out his hair into a mop deserving of a hockey player, only to cut it off just before photo day. I guess he didn't want that flow to be up on a scoreboard all season long. Probably a wise move.
Justin Smoak went on the Winter Tour as well, making stops in Ottawa at a Senators game and a children's hospital. Aside from that, he seems to have kept it pretty low-key, spending a lot of time at home with his family, wife Kristen and adorable daughter Sutton - the latter of whom has a penchant for gigantic hair bows.
Designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia in October, and did a lot of therapy and training to recover. EE also spent plenty of time back home in the Dominican, playing with his son and leading a baseball camp along with several other major leaguers.
Ryan Goins was found wherever his teammates were - first in Vegas for a UFC fight, then in Florida in the batting cages. The second baseman seems to have been working very hard to prepare for this season, including some interesting-looking training that's supposed to help him be lighter on his feet as a base runner.
Troy Tulowitzki spent the winter getting to better know his teammates - between having them out to his home in Las Vegas to visit, and returning to Florida ahead of the spring training schedule to work on hitting with Pillar, Colabello, Goins and hitting coach Bobby Tewksbary. That's where the leg kick came from.
AL MVP Josh Donaldson probably had the most unique offseason of anyone - from running all over the place to collect various awards, to going to Ireland to be on an episode of Vikings, and appearing in various commercials. Much to the delight of baseball Twitter, he finally got Instagram! Plus he went on that trip to Vegas, and in the process gave us the following:
Michael Saunders has no social media, so it remains a bit of a mystery what he did this off-season. Safe to say he spent a lot of time doing therapy for his knee, but he could have done so on Mars for all we know.
Kevin Pillar and his wife Amanda bought a new house, and according to a story he told broadcaster Jerry Howarth, did a ton of yard work. He did some Winter Tour appearances as well - in Toronto, Ottawa, and Saskatoon. He feared January in Saskatchewan would be too cold - an unfounded fear, as it was a balmy 2 degrees Celsius while he was there. He also spent some time with his baby nephew Cooper (so cute!) and in the warmth of Florida ahead of spring training, working on his swing with Tewksbary.
Jose Bautista was unusually inactive (for him) on social media for much of the winter break, but the few things he did post were typical gems. From visiting a watch factory, to attending a Barcelona FC match and co-coaching the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game with Drake, he certainly made the most of his time off. There was also that Superbowl party he hosted, where he decided everyone should wear onesies.