Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has big day at plate in spring debut

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Like father, like son.

Top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 4-for-5 in his spring training debut with the Blue Jays on Thursday.

"He's looks just like his daddy," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "Lots of similar mannerisms, and today, very similar results."

The 18-year old third baseman is the son of former Expos and Angels great Vladimir Guerrero, who posted a .318 lifetime batting average over his 16-year career and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this past January.

Ranked the No. 2 prospect in baseball by ESPN's Keith Law, Guerrero Jr. hit .323 with 13 home runs and 76 RBIs in 119 games last season, splitting time between Low-A Lansing and High-A Dunedin. He also finished with more walks (76) than strikeouts (62).

A non-roster invitee to big league spring training, Guerrero -- who turns 19 next week -- hadn't seen any action during the first two weeks of Grapefruit League play.

Facing the Orioles on Thursday, he lined a single to right field in his first at-bat against starter Nestor Cortes Jr., then followed that up by collecting three more singles against a pair of Baltimore relievers. The only time he failed to reach base came in the fourth inning, when he faced former All-Star Darren O'Day and flied out to center field.

"Good looking hitter," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He looks like he has fun playing."

After the game, he was excited to share his big day.

"I'm going to call him after," said Guerrero, referring to his father, who's back home in the Dominican Republic. "But I'm pretty sure he was watching the game already."

The Hall of Famer wasn't the only ex-MLB star keeping an eye on Toronto's game. Former All-Star outfielder Dante Bichette was in attendance at Ed Smith Stadium to watch his son Bo make his spring training debut. The 20-year-old shortstop, considered Toronto's second-best prospect, went 2-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs.

Both Bichette and Guerrero are expected to start the season in the minors.