Blue Jays open camp with several spots in play

Second base, center field and relief jobs up for grabs this spring

Blue Jays open camp with several spots in play

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Preparation for the 2015 season is officially underway, as Blue Jays pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training on Sunday morning.

The hurlers and backstops went through their physicals at an off-site location, with the first official workout scheduled for Monday. Position players will report on Thursday, with a full-squad workout scheduled for the following day.

Even though pitchers and catchers weren't required to be at the ballpark on Sunday, a handful of Blue Jays showed up to get some extra work in. One of those was veteran left-hander Mark Buehrle, who is ready to get going after the club's offseason additions of Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders.

"We know what Russell Martin brings to the table and his competitiveness," Buehrle said. "It's on paper right now. We have seven or eight months of baseball to play to see if it works out and how good it works. We'll just go out there and play, start here in Spring Training, start gelling together, and we'll see where it takes us."

The Blue Jays will spend the next week and a half going through morning workouts in preparation for the start of their Grapefruit League schedule, which opens with an afternoon game against the Pirates on March 3. Exhibition play will continue through a two-game series against the Reds in Montreal on April 3-4.

Outlook: Pompey, OF, TOR

There should be a number of competitions to keep a close eye on throughout camp. Dalton Pompey and Kevin Pillar are vying for the starting spot in center, and there could be as many as five players in the mix for the starting job at second base, with Maicer Izturis, Ryan Goins and Devon Travis the early frontrunners.

The biggest uncertainty on this team, though, can be found in the bullpen. Toronto lost Casey Janssen to free agency, and the club has come up short in its attempt to add another big piece. That has caused plenty of speculation that the bullpen will become a major weakness on the roster, but left-hander Brett Cecil doesn't want to hear about that.

Cecil pointed to the fact that the bullpen was supposed to be a weakness in 2013 and ended up becoming a major strength. Last year, the opposite was true, as expectations were high and the results were subpar, at best.

"Stuff like that can definitely shift from year to year," said Cecil, who is expected to compete with rookie Aaron Sanchez for the closer's role. "We have some new faces in here, and I'm looking forward to the competition that you're going to have throughout the entire field in this Spring Training. It's going to be interesting."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.