TORONTO – Temporary displacement as a result of the pandemic isn’t unique to the Toronto Blue Jays, who will have three of their four affiliates in makeshift homes when the minor-league season begins Tuesday.
The triple-A Buffalo Bisons will play out of Trenton, N.J., this summer to free up the renovated Sahlen Field for the parent club’s expected arrival next month. The high-A Vancouver Canadians are setting up shop in Hillsboro, Ore., due to the same border restrictions keeping the Blue Jays out of Toronto, while low-A Dunedin is hosting its home games this month either at its opponent’s venue or an alternate location because the big-league club is using TD Ballpark.
Quite the wrinkle to work in amid the already complicated array of protocols needed to keep well over a hundred minor-leaguers free of COVID-19 throughout spring training.
“It was an added challenge, especially with two new sites,” Joe Sclafani, the Blue Jays’ assistant director, player development who oversaw camp, says in an interview. “But kudos to everybody who’s worked their tails off to work through that. We feel like we’re in a pretty good spot. We’ll see what we’ve got.”
The double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the sole Blue Jays affiliate playing in its actual home, will be where much of the farm-system intrigue lies, with a roster stocked with most of the Blue Jays’ top prospects.
Electric-armed righties Nate Pearson and Alek Manoah will both be at…