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Spring Training Notes: The Season Fast Approaches

As the season quickly approaches, the roster is beginning to resemble the one we'll see on opening day. Up until now, the Jays have struggled mightily, but it could be blamed on fielding inexperienced minor leaguers and over-the-hill veterans rather than established major leaguers. Well, the upcoming week's games will feature rosters mainly composed of major-league calibre players, so the results will offer us slightly more insight into the team's actual capabilities.

Here are the standings through March 22:

Some more happenings and going ons from the past few days:

  • Gustavo Chacin is progressing nicely and should be ready to make his first scheduled start of the regular season, even though he barely pitched during the WBC.
  • In all likelihood, A.J. Burnett will miss his first scheduled start of the regular season. Although he has no long-term health issues, the Blue Jays are being cautious with their prized offseason acquisition. I'm fine with this, because there's little sense in putting his long-term health at risk by rushing him to the mound. Scott Downs will take his turn in the rotation if he won't be able to make his scheduled start.
  • According to Jordan Bastian of, Bengie Molina's poor production at the plate during spring training should partly be attributed to the fact that he's spent a great deal of time working and becoming acquainted with the pitchers.
  • Dayn Perry recently wrote an article in which he predicts the 2006 AL awards winners. He strays from established convention with Cy Young prediction, listing Rich Harden as the winner and Johan Santana and Roy Halladay -- the only Blue Jay he lists in the article -- as the runners up. In my view, those three, along with Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, are far away the most talented pitchers in the AL.
  • Ben Weber has been optioned to the minors after posting a 5.14 ERA in five appearances this spring. It's really a shame his production has fallen as much as it has; he was once one of the best, most reliable relief pitchers in all of baseball.
  • Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun discusses the question marks surrounding the top of the Blue Jays' batting order. Right now, four players -- Russ Adams, Frank Catalanotto, Aaron Hill, and Reed Johnson -- may split time atop the order. As I've expressed before, I'd platoon Catalanotto and Johnson in that spot. I maintain that mindset despite the fact that Aaron Hill has a career OPS of 3.000 when hitting first in the order (in one at-bat, mind you).
  • On Blue Jay Way, guest columnist Brendan Carlin discusses the agony associated with waiting for the upcoming season to begin. We've all been there, and it's definitely not pretty.
  • An off-topic note: Wonder Years star Fred Savage will become a father. Man, that makes me feel old.