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Blue Jays Spring Battles: Second Lefty in the Bullpen

We are about halfway through the Blue Jays spring training schedule. I thought it might be a good time to take a look at one of the few positions where the team has a battle going for the job.

John Gibbons has said that he wants two lefties in the pen. J.P. Howell will be the first lefty in the pen. J.P. has had one ‘official’ appearance and one non-official one. Neither went well. The official one: 1 inning vs. the Phillies, last saturday, he gave up 2 hits, 2 walk, 2 earned with 2 strikeouts. The unofficial one: 1 inning vs. Team Canada, 4 hits, 1 walk, 2 earned with a strikeout.

For Howell, spring numbers don’t matter at all, he just needs to get his work in, throw all his pitches. I might worry more if his last couple of spring appearances go bad.

Players battling for the second lefty job:

Jeff Beliveau: He was signed to a minor league contract. He’s 30, he’s had 45 major league innings, has a 4.00 ERA, 21 walks, 47 strikeouts. In his career lefties have hit .243/.341/.459 against him. This spring he’s pitched in 6 games, 5.2 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned, 3 walks with 6 strikeouts.

Ryan Borucki: He’s not really in the battle, he pitched in Lansing and Dunedin last year. He’s pitched in 3 games, 4 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned, 1 home run, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.

Matt Dermody: He pitched 3 innings for the Jays last year. A rookie, he is on the 40-man, he has all his options. He’s pitched in 5 games, 4 innings, allowed 3 hits, no walks with 4 strikeouts. It is hard to complain about how he has pitched.

Chad Girodo: He pitched 10.1 innings for us last year, had a 4.35 ERA. He was removed from the 40-man roster this winter. This spring he’s pitched in 5 games, 4.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 earned, 1 home run, no walks, 3 strikeouts.

T.J. House: Signed to a minor league contract this winter. He’s pitched 27 games, with 22 starts in the majors, has a 4.44 ERA. If he doesn’t win the second lefty job, he would likely start in Buffalo. In his career lefties have hit .267/.293/.336 against him. Has pitched in 3 games, 3.2 innings, 5 hits, 2 earned, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts. And, of course, he was hit in the head with the line drive Sunday. I don’t know how long he will be out of action.

Aaron Loup: He’s 29, pitched parts of the past 5 seasons with the Jays. Career 3.24 ERA in 249 games. Career, he’s been very good against lefties, they have hit .209/.276/.298 and pretty crappy against RHB, .270/.327/.428. This spring, in 4 games, he’s pitched 3.1 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Tim Mayza: He isn’t on the 40-man, pitched in New Hampshire and Dunedin last year. He’s a long shot in this battle. He has pitched in 5 games, 4.1 innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, with 7 strikeouts. 13 outs, 7 of them strikeouts.

Brett Oberholtzer: A long shot to get the job. He was signed to a minor league contract this winter. He’s pitched in 82 major league games, 44 starts, has a 4.36 ERA. Lefties have hit .293/.322/.464 against him career. This spring he’s pitched in 3 games, 3.2 inning, allowed 8 hits, 8 earned, 2 home runs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts. If he wasn’t a long shot before, that pitching line would make him a long shot.