The Toronto Blue Jays have long been praised for their ability to purchase top-notch pitching machines. Now, one of their best is staring into the unknown abyss that is catastrophic piston failure.
It all started with some innocent batting practice. Jeff Mathis came up to "swing the bat a little:, and only 9 pitches into his batting practice Pitching Coach Bruce Walton was summoned to take a look at the Bata machine. The grim look on his face confirmed the worst.
"It was the number 3 piston on the middle wheel. It's been troubling our mechanics because they felt they should've noticed it during their last maintenance session. Frankly, it's a little disappointing considering the season it's been having."
The Bata 3 Wheel Pitching Machine has been lights out in batting practice, providing hitters with great meatball like pitches to absolutely clobber into the 200 level.
"Mr. Bata's been great for my confidence," said Colby Rasmus. "It made me believe I was having fun playing baseball."
This marks the third Bata 3 Wheel Pitching Machine to go down this week, all early in batting practice, all with no prior warning signs. Still, John Farrell remains optimistic that it won't require much more than a can of WD-40.
"It's a piston misfire. How severe that piston misfire is, what degree, which could correlate to percentage of misfiring, I don't have the specifics."
For now, the Blue Jays will have to rely on a variety of different pitching machines to cobble together the remaining batting practices. Reports out of Las Vegas are worrisome, as their pitching machines appear to be less effective than rival pitchers, which could mean possible early promotion from AA New Hampshire.
Still, John Farrell remains optimistic.
"Every team goes through rough patches. These things happen. We'll be OK. Our guys know that they face some adversity now, so we'll really see how they handle it in the coming weeks."