Blue Jays prospect Pentecost may see time at first base


Hopes are still high for Toronto Blue Jays catching prospect Max Pentecost. (Phil Sears/AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Toronto Blue Jays catching prospect Max Pentecost may see some playing time at first base next year after recently undergoing another shoulder surgery.

The 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft missed all of last season with shoulder issues and when his problems throwing continued during fall instructional league, he had a rotator cuff interval repair.

Though he’s expected to be ready for spring training, the Blue Jays want to make sure Pentecost starts catching up on lost at-bats, which is why he may see some action at other positions.

“We were assured he’d be good to go once spring training rolls around,” said Doug Davis, minor-league field co-ordinator for the Blue Jays. “We’re going to find a way to get him going, whether it’s catching or whether it’s at another position.”

Pentecost appeared in 25 games with the Blue Jays’ rookie-ball Gulf Coast League team in Dunedin and short-season A Vancouver in 2014 after he was signed, but was shut down to undergo a shoulder surgery. He had another operation in the spring, but neither did the trick.

“The biggest thing is we know the kid can hit, we want to find a way to get him in the lineup and get him at-bats,” said Davis. “If that’s having him play a different position or DH, we have that available to us.”

Pentecost was seen as the catcher of the future when he was drafted. The Blue Jays don’t have much depth at the position behind Russell Martin and Josh Thole, who is currently slated to be the big-league backup.

Minor-league free agent Humberto Quintero and A.J. Jimenez, a fading prospect who missed most of last season with a wrist injury, are expected to be the duo at triple-A Buffalo but the Blue Jays continue to look for more depth behind the plate.

Things you hear roaming the sprawling Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center:

  • The Blue Jays claim of switch-pitcher Pat Venditte on waivers Oct. 19 flew under the radar during the post-season, but he’s an intriguing bullpen possibility after holding opposing lefties to a .116/.188/.256 clip over 48 plate appearances. It’s a small sample size, but it’s certainly worth exploring.
  • Mark Buehrle continues to draw interest from teams but to this point he hasn’t engaged, which suggests he may be leaning toward retirement.
  • The $3.9-million contract given to Justin Smoak won’t necessarily alter the club’s approach at first base next year. Chris Colabello ended up playing everyday in the post-season and manager John Gibbons said his thought for now is for them to share time similarly to last year. “We’d kind of mix and match on who they were facing and this and that, who was hot,” he said. “You look at Colabello, he turned it on at the end when everything was on the line, and it was fun to watch. He really had a tremendous year. Smoaky did, too. It was nice to see him get rewarded with a nice contract. It’s really a luxury, and we’ll figure out how it works. … Colabello is going to facing plenty of right-handers this year.”
  • When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.