Alford entered Friday's loss to the Red Sox as a pinch runner for Rowdy Tellez in the eighth inning and stole two bases. With Boston clinging to a one-run lead at the time, Alford swapped in for Tellez after the latter drew a one-out walk and immediately put himself in scoring position by stealing second, then swiped third as well after Vladimir Guerrero also earned a free pass off Matt Barnes. However, the rally ended when Randal Grichuk grounded into a double play. Alford has only seven plate appearances in his seven games this season, but he's made the most of his opportunities with three steals in three attempts. If the 26-year-old ever gets a chance at more consistent playing time, he could prove to be a fantasy asset.
Alford got the start in left field Tuesday and went 1-for-2 with an RBI. Lourdes Gurriel was rotating through the DH spot, opening up left field for Alford, and the 26-year-old responded with his first hit and RBI of the year. He's appeared in five games so far but only has four at-bats, primarily being used as a pinch runner or defensive replacement, and barring a rash of injuries to the Jays' outfield, Alford's unlikely to work his way into a more prominent role.
Alord may have a difficult time making the big-league roster this season, Andrew Stoeten of The Athletic reports. Alford is out of options, but that doesn't guarantee him a spot. The 25-year-old owns a .145/.203/.218 slash line in 59 big-league plate appearances to date and hit just .167/.167/.250 over 24 plate appearances in Grapefruit league action. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk, Derek Fisher and Teoscar Hernandez all appear to have locked-down places on the big-league roster, with Jonathan Davis and Billy McKinney also in the mix for the fifth outfielder spot, should the Blue Jays elect to carry five outfielders.
Alford stole three bases -- one of which resulted in the eventual winning run -- in Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees, Gregor Chisholm of The Toronto Star reports. The 25-year-old is out of minor-league options, so it's either head north with the big-league club or head to the waiver wire for Alford this spring. He's making his case early with his legs, but the outfielder will also need to prove he can handle himself defensively in all three spots and contribute a little with his bat if he's going to win a spot on the Jays' bench. The most important thing for Alford this spring might be to just stay healthy, however -- he played only 96 games last year between the minors and majors, and he's never played more than 125 in any season in his career.
Alford is out of options heading into this season and will be playing at all three outfield positions in order to test his versatility, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com reports. "I'm looking forward to seeing Anthony Alford," manager Charlie Montoyo said. "He's going to play a lot, let's see what he's got. He had a good offseason working on his hitting." Alford has struggled at the plate every time he's gotten a sliver of a chance at the big-league level, including a .179/.233/.286 line in 30 plate appearances last season. He hasn't exactly been banging down the door in Triple-A, either, hitting .259/.343/.411 in Triple-A Buffalo last year. He's competing with Billy McKinney and Derek Fisher, who is also out of options, for the final outfield slot.
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