It's March and spring training games start tomorrow. I'm hoping that tomorrow's game is on MLB Audio, it would be good to listen to the game but MLB.com doesn't have the spring games listed yet. I also hope that Sportsnet will show us the odd spring game, if only to get their new play-by-play man, Buck Martinez, some practice, but their schedule, up to the 13th, has 3 New York Yankee games and 2 Boston Red Sox games but no Jay games.
Jays have announced their batting order for tomorrow: Bautista 3B, Hill 2B, Lind DH, Wells CF, Overbay 1B, Buck C, Reed RF, Gonzalez SS and Snider LF. So most of their 'regulars' (or their likely regulars) except for Encarnacion. I am hoping that Reed or Lubanski show really well this spring and force Cito into using one of them as a platoon partner in RF for Jose. Ricky Romero, Dana Eveland and Josh Roenicke are each to pitch 2 innings tomorrow.
More after the Jump.
Cito told Jordan Bastian that the only locks for spots in the bullpen were Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg. Everyone else has to earn a spot but he 'likes' Josh Roenicke, Shawn Camp and Jesse Carlson. I like Carlson too, anyone that will take a swing at a Yankee is aces in my book. Cito also mentioned that Carlson had a "right shoulder issue" that might have hindered his pitching some. He only pitched in 73 games last year, you think if he was hurt he could have got some time off somewhere.
In the Globe, Robert MacLeod has a story on Jose Molina (how many times am I going to slip up and call him Benjie, if he makes the team this year). Jose feels that the little bit of controversy over him being A.J. Burnett's personal catcher, last year with the Yankees, cost him getting an offer this season from them:
"I think that was the key behind me leaving," Molina said. "I think Jorge was one of the guys who didn’t like it. I don’t think he had anything against me, but he probably didn’t like the situation."
I don't know, don't you figure the .217/.292/.268 batting line might have had more to do with it?
MacLeod also talks about John Buck, telling the story about Buck asking for video of all the Jay pitchers for him to watch during the off-season. Buck says he is excited to help the young pitching staff:
"The task at hand is nothing compared to what we were in Kansas City," he said. "The guys are ready right now. They may be young, they may be lacking experience, but they’re ready. They have an idea, they know what works for them, they know what doesn’t."
In the Star, Morgan Campbell wrote about our new shortstop, Alex Gonzalez. He'd like to play everyday (wouldn't we all) but, after knee surgery two years ago, he's unsure how his knee will stand up to the turf at Rogers Center:
"This is my first time playing a lot of games (on turf) and I know it’s really hard," said Gonzalez, who signed with the Jays in late November. "But I’ve got to put it out of my mind and go out there and do everything. I don’t care (if I play on) turf or regular grass."
Hopefully the new turf will be easier on the players than the old stuff was.
John Lott, in the National Post, writes a piece about John Buck and how excited he is about all the young pitchers we have. He makes special mention of Kyle Drabek:
Buck says Drabek's stuff and mental approach are special.
"He's cheating a little bit with his dad. With all of his genes, they [were] probably telling him what sequence to throw out of the womb. He's pretty impressive."
Buck caught Zach Greinke the last few years, so he knows what special is.
On Twitter, Jordan Bastian tells us he is getting teased about wearing his marathon medal to camp today. Jordan, you ran 42 kilometers to get that, wear it proud. I've run a number of half-marathons but only one marathon, it's an achievement. After I ran it, people, with no understanding of what a marathon is, asked: "Did you win?". "Yes I won, I made it to the finish line."
And over at Amazin' Avenue, Jame Kannengieser talks about how one stupid person can screw up a team.
The Hardball times looks at the battle to be our closer. The concussion:
Downs and Frasor have been pitching in the AL East, Gregg in the NL East and NL Central, which is baseball's weakest division. For my money, he's not a high leverage reliever in either league and certainly not the caliber of pitcher you'd like working in close games against the likes of Boston, New York and Tampa. Frasor should get the nod, given these numbers. Best stuff, most strikes, tough to hit hard. Downs is not a slouch, but, in the modern bullpen, he may be most appealing when the offense has men on already, as opposed to a clean-slate with no outs.
And, for those holding out hope the Jays will sign Rocco Baldelli, you can stop now. He has signed with the Rays, not as a player, as a 'special assistant'. He has a 'shoulder issue' that will keep him from playing.