On To Minnesota
Believe it or not, us beat writers DO get a day off every once in a while. That was the case for me today, when the Blue Jays beat the Orioles, 4-3, behind the efforts of "Doc" Halladay. I didn’t get to watch the game because I was busy playing catch up around the house. Part of my day was spent packing for the upcoming road trip.
I’m looking forward to heading to Minnesota. Not only will I be covering Toronto playing one of the hottest teams in baseball, but I have a few friends that live around Minneapolis. I still haven’t figured out how seven people I knew in college ended up in Minnesota — one one of them who now covers the Twins on a full-time basis.
Fortunately for Toronto, neither Johan Santana or Francisco Liriano will be pitching in this series. That’s good news, considering the Jays are 7.5 games back of the Twins in the AL Wild Card race. That’s still quite a considerable gap, but Toronto isn’t about to say it’s too big to overcome. I personally think that almost too much has to go right for the Jays to overtake three teams for the Wild Card, but I guess stranger things have happened in this game.
Some more good news on the Toronto front: Gustavo Chacin didn’t have any more issues in his third rehab start and will most likely rejoin the rotation after the off day on Monday. That means Toronto will have Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Ted Lilly, Shaun Marcum, and Chacin as its starting staff. I’ve been impressed with Marcum lately and hopefully Chacin can return to form quickly. That would help solve that spot, which has been plagued by a handful of inconsistent rookies.
One of those rooks is Francisco Rosario, who injured his lower back in his relief appearance on Tuesday. He was scheduled to maybe pitch Saturday in Minnesota, but now it looks like left-hander Scott Downs — another reliever — might be making a spot start instead. Rosario’s injury isn’t anything serious, but it seems like Toronto likes him more out of the bullpen than as a starter anyway.
Another side note: When Toronto placed reliever Justin Speier on the 15-day disabled list, it recalled right-hander Jason Frasor up from Triple-A. Apparently, Frasor wasn’t informed of exactly why he was being called up. He didn’t learn of Speier’s injury until after he arrived in Toronto. He found out when he heard the news on a TV broadcast. In 18 games at Triple-A, Frasor posted a 3.98 ERA. He struck out 33 in 20.1 innings for the SkyChiefs.
For those of you who are ESPN the Magazine readers, there is a funny picture of Jays pitcher Jeremy Accardo on p. 63 from when he was still with the Giants. Accardo — acquired in the deal that sent Shea Hillenbrand and Vinnie Chulk to SF — will help fill the setup role now that Speier is out.
Speier said he expects to miss around three weeks and said the injury involves the pronator muscle in his forearm. Now, I haven’t heard the results of the MRI yet, but I believe that muscle is attached to the elbow. I think three weeks would be optimistic for his return. I could`be wrong. Toronto surely will take extra precaution with Speier as they did with Burnett and Chacin, though.
Anyways, that’s all for right now. I have to finish stuffing my suitcase and then I need to get some rest. I’ll blog more once I get up to Minnesota. Stay tuned…