In the first Jays spring training game in which the winning team didn't score exactly 6 runs, the Jays dropped today's match to the Phillies, 12-7.
Ricky Romero started for the Jays and was pretty bad, walking 6 in just an inning and a third. He kept getting ahead of hitters and then losing them, at first he was losing them on close pitches but by the time he was pulled he had just lost focus. The Phillies announcers also commented that it looked like he had a sore arm - very possible considering it was his second appearance. On the plus side, his pitches had plenty of movement and he didn't give up any hits. Still, not a successful outing.
On the flipside, Brett Cecil was great over his 2 2/3 innings, surrendering just a single and a walk and striking out 3. Cecil now has 7 Ks over his 4 2/3 innings, and has surrendered two hits and two walks.
In something I'm hoping to see lots of this season, Aaron Hill and Adam Lind combined for two runs in the first when Hill singled and Lind crushed a home run to right field. Hill slashed a double later in the game and looks pretty good at the plate, while Lind added a nice at-bat later on when he worked another walk. Baby steps...
Kevin Millar did most of the rest of the damage for the Jays with a 3-run home run in the 5th inning, which Brad Emaus followed up with a home run of his own. Emaus also walked in the game and is enjoying a nice little spring.
Unfortunately, the Jays gave all those runs back due to an awful outing by Jeremy Accardo, who was giving up a ton of hard contact. Accardo gave up 7 hits and a walk for 7 total runs in his two innings, including two dingers, ugh. Shawn Camp and Brian Burres were also ineffective for the Jays. Nate Starner made his first appearance of the spring and pitched a scoreless 9th. Accardo's appearance was troubling but he was good his first time out, so you can't get too concerned about it yet, while Camp and Burres are unlikely to make the team. You have to like the hitting the Jays showed today so on the whole it wasn't a bad day.
In other news, the A's signed Orlando Cabrera, as pointed out by Bunner. We had heard all about how the Jays were in on him, so I was pretty thrilled to see some other team give up their draft pick (although Oakland only had to give up their second-rounder, while the Jays would've had to surrender their first-round pick), not to mention $4 million. Oakland is obviously going for it this season and is also hoping that Cabrera will remain a Type A free agent, meaning that they will have his services (as a 3-win player, he's worth the salary) and pick up some nice draft picks on the back end.
Adam Lind is a monster. His playing weight last year was a shade over 200 pounds. This spring, he's checking in around 220, and it's noticeable...Lind told me he never used protein shakes and supplements (the good kind) until this winter, and the added muscle hasn't messed with his mechanics. It sounds like he's taking the full-time DH role - if that's his destiny - quite seriously.
Don't be surprised to see Casey Janssen open the season in the rotation... in Las Vegas. Janssen, who missed all of last year following shoulder surgery, threw a productive side session Saturday and will likely see his first game setting on Wednesday. His sense is that the Blue Jays are determined to have him start again... So, depending on how his shoulder reacts in the next four weeks, Janssen may have to continue stretching out in Triple-A until he's ready to rejoin the big club.
Speaking of [Scott] Richmond, he let it slip today that he will likely start the "elimination game" at the World Baseball Classic...The guess is Saturday's start against the United States goes to Mike Johnson...In short, look for Richmond to face Venezuela. One way or another.
Interesting about Lind and Janssen. Richmond pitches against the Jays tomorrow for Team Canada, while Mike Maroth pitches for the Jays. Starting Casey at AAA to build up his arm strength would allow the Jays to keep some of the veteran arms around and see how they work out in real games before making any decisions...though I'm not sure whether or not that'd be a good thing. For what it's worth, Arnsberg says he will have Janssen ready to go 100 pitches by the time the season starts.
Finally, only our very, very best wishes to John Brattain. I haven't met the man, but have been reading his stuff for a long time and have corresponded (and argued) by e-mail, and I'm hard-pressed to think of someone who deserves a quick return to health more. Get well soon, John!