When your dad has 3,060 MLB hits, you don’t want to wait too long into your big-league career to start your quest for family supremacy.
After a rough couple of games in which he went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts, Cavan Biggio got to work on Sunday, producing the type of game the Blue Jays hope is indicative of what’s to come. The 24-year-old busted out, going 3-for-4 with his first career home run in Toronto’s 10-1 win.
“It gave me the chills,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I thought ‘man that’s why I love this job, that’s why I came here to see that.’ That was fun.”
Biggio got things started in the second inning. After taking a fastball well high from Padres southpaw Robbie Erlin, he got hold of a heater low in the zone and shot it through the infield for his first career hit.
The hit itself wasn’t particularly special - a 91.4-mph grounder with a .250 Expected Average - but Biggio would have happily taken anything that broke up his early goose egg.
“You just want to get that first hit and get that monkey off your back,” he said. “After that first at-bat I felt like I could finally exhale and just play the game.”
Just two innings later, Matt Wisler left a fastball in his wheelhouse and Biggio got on the board with his first deep fly - this time a 405-foot bomb above the second deck that stayed just inside the foul pole. Biggio found himself fearing it would be a long strike and trying to will it fair.
“That’s why I was walking down the line a little bit,” he said. “They tried to come inside with a fastball with two strikes and I was just trying to battle and keep my hands inside. But yeah just hoping the ball would be fair.”
The high-arching round tripper put the Blue Jays ahead 3-1 and also got former minor league teammates Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. going in a major way.
Frankly, we all deserve the level of support Vladito & Lourdes Gurriel Jr. give Cavan Biggio. pic.twitter.com/4aF2SMiwvl
— Cut4 (@Cut4) May 26, 2019
“I felt like it was me hitting that home run,” Gurriel Jr. said through an interpreter. “I love Biggio, he’s going to be a great player so we were very, very happy for him.”
Being the kind of teammate that elicits that reaction isn’t an accident for Biggio, it’s something he actively works at, which help explains why he’s so beloved by the guys who’ve played with him in the minors.
“Being a good teammate is probably the biggest thing for a baseball player,” he said. “You can trick a coach, you can trick the media, but you can’t trick a teammate. Our relationships are probably the most important, especially over the course of your season when you’re trying to win. It’s just something I’ve learned from my dad and being around the game for so long.”
It wasn’t just Biggio’s teammates that had big reactions for his first career homer. His Hall of Famer dad, Craig - who’d demonstrated superhuman stoicism to that point - was dishing out the high fives to Blue Jays fans.
The rookie wasn’t done after the home run, either. In the sixth inning, he added an RBI single, clubbing a Luis Perdomo fastball to centre to score Gurriel Jr.
Despite something of a slow start, the Blue Jays expect big things from the 24-year-old who hit .307/.445/.504 in Triple-A this season. In the last couple of years, Biggio has gone from a non-prospect with a famous name to a player Toronto hopes will be a part of its future core.
Sunday was the first time he played like he deserved that billing. He’ll need plenty more big games to secure his place in the Blue Jays’ plans, but with a couple of major firsts in his rearview, his road looks a little bit easier.
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