It’s injury season, apparently. Here’s the latest:
The Blue Jays didn’t win or lose yesterday - they tied with the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-8. Say it with me now, “since spring training games don’t matter,” there is relatively no point in continuing play past the ninth inning. Five singles in the bottom of the ninth allowed for an (almost) completed comeback. Read our full breakdown of the game here.
Today, the Blue Jays will play the 7-1 Yankees at 1:07, once again at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Luis Severino starts for New York and Francisco Liriano will get the nod for Toronto.
Devon Travis’ Opening Day status is now uncertain, per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. A bone bruise on his right knee, the same injury that caused Travis to miss the majority of the 2016 season and undergo surgery in the offseason, may keep him from starting the season at second base. “Hopefully Devon’s ready, but we can’t guarantee that,” manager John Gibbons told Sportsnet. There is currently no timetable for Travis’ return, although he is progressing. He took batting practice and was involved in defensive drills yesterday morning.
More injury news: Glenn Sparkman, Toronto’s Rule 5 Draft pick, broke a bone in his thumb during pitchers’ fielding practice yesterday morning. Without a timeline for his return, it is uncertain whether he will be healed in time for the regular season, but it seems unlikely at this point.
Since Sparkman is a Rule 5 Draft pick, I’m not sure how long he stays with the Blue Jays. There’s no risk of keeping him on the disabled list while he heals, but the longer he isn’t seeing major league action, the worse he’ll be when he returns - with no option to send him to triple-A. At this point, it seems unlikely he sees success with the Blue Jays as a major league reliever, although it is still possible.
Even more injury news: David Price, experiencing elbow soreness, was scratched from his first spring start and is set to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, perhaps requiring Tommy John surgery. A second opinion from Dr. Andrews almost always requires Tommy John surgery. Oh boy. This can of worms is, I hate to say it, inherently good for the Blue Jays. Still, I wish nothing but the best on Price - during his time in Toronto, he seemed like a nice and respectful guy.
Even more injury news: Josh Donaldson, continuing to progress with his injured calf, took part in fielding drills yesterday. All signs, so far, point to a healthy and ahead-of-schedule recovery.
And, finally, some MLB rule changes. Major League Baseball officially announced some modifications set to be exercised in the 2017 season. The seven changes are as follows:
- Implementing a no-pitch intentional walk: Allows the manager to signal to the home plate umpire to intentionally walk the batter.
- 30 second time limit to initiate review: A manager must decide, within 30 seconds, whether he would like to review a play or not.
- Two minute time limit to review plays: Allowing for “various exceptions,” plays must be reviewed within a two minute time limit.
- Crew chief can initiate reviews beginning in the 8th: When a manager has exhausted his review options, the crew chief can initiate reviews beginning in the 8th, not 7th.
- No use of markers on field to help fielders: Following last years’ Mets-Dodgers laser pointer controversy, this new rule now prohibits teams from using any marker on the field to position its players.
- No more Carter Capps: Under an umpires interpretation, a pitcher can no longer take a second step towards home plate. So long, Carter Capps.
- Third base coaches must be behind the coaching box: Pretty self explanatory. Once the ball is in play, the coach can leave the box, but still can not interfere with the play (no duh).