Richard Griffin reports that Matt Clement has been assigned to minor-league camp, leaving three men in the running to break camp in the Jays' rotation: Brad Mills, who pitches Thursday, Ricky Romero, who threw reasonably effectively yesterday against the Reds (nice John Lennon reference there, Wilner!), and Scott Richmond, who Griffin feels is the odd man out. I'm not so sure about that myself, and neither is Wilner.
Clement has not yet decided whether he will accept the minor-league assignment:
"Trying to give you any insight would be premature," Clement said, with resignation in his voice.
I think two things. First, I'm not sure there is another team that gives Clement a better chance than the Jays of pitching his way into the rotation. Second, even though I haven't been too optimistic about Clement pitching effectively in the majors again, I hope he sticks around. He hasn't been great this spring, but other than his last outing he hasn't been terrible. We don't know how Janssen's progress will go or when, for different reasons, he, McGowan, and/or Cecil will be ready to pitch in the majors. If the Jays go with Mills and/or Romero, neither one with much of a track record, and they flame out, we have Richmond, but I'd much prefer Clement as an option to Brian Burres or Mike Maroth. Clement hasn't pitched in an incredibly long time, so it's worth a little more time to see if he can put his game back together. Even if he's not pitching well in the minors, I'd much rather throw him into the rotation than have a struggling Romero, Mills, or Cecil trying to pitch at the major league level or a batting practice arm out there.