It was relatively quiet at the Jays’ Spring Training complex today. Well, aside from the popping of gloves and the crack of the bat. Pitchers and catchers aren’t required to actually be at the Bobby Matttick Training Center until Saturday, when the first workout is scheduled. A lot of pitchers and position players were already in camp, though.
Today was more of a "Hey, how are doing? How was your winter?" kind of day for me. One of my favorite things about Spring Training is that it’s a lot more laid back than the regular season and it’s a great time to just chew the fat with reporters, players and staff. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of work to be done, but in between shifts at the laptop, it’s nice to just relax in the Florida sun.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of that sun today. I actually had to wear a fleece today because it was unusually cold. But, no, I’m not complaining. I could be taking my dog out in the snow at 8 a.m. in Toronto. Still, it was by far the coldest day I’ve experienced down here.
There were a lot of players around today, and some that weren’t there today, but have already arrived. Some of those include Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, Aaron Hill, John McDonald, Russ Adams, Alex Rios, John Thomson, Josh Towers, B.J. Ryan, Brandon League, Scott Downs, Jeremy Accardo, Jason Frasor, Gregg Zaun, Sal Fasano, Jason Phillips, and a bunch of others. There’s sure to be more tomorrow.
Toronto manager John Gibbons also made his first appearance at camp, and I ran into hitting coach Mickey Brantley on my way out of the clubhouse in the afternoon.
A few of us reporters met with Gibby today and talked about a few things. He reiterated that he’d like to have more defined bullpen roles for some of the pitchers this season, and he’d like to reduce the number of multi-inning outings from Ryan. Gibbons also said he wasn’t worrying too much about his contract situation (he isn’t signed beyond this season).
There were some other topics discussed, some of which I included in the Jays notes on the site today. One thing that I did get confirmed — even though it had already been reported elsewhere — was that Roy Halladay didn’t experience any setbacks this offseason, contrary to an internet report that surfaced recently. So, don’t worry Jays’ fans, Halladay is just fine.
One thing that is interesting is how Halladay is adjusting his spring workouts. He plans on reducing his number of mound sessions and won’t work in his cutter until later this spring. The cut fastball can put added strain on a pitcher’s forearm, and Halladay thinks overusing the pitch last spring helped lead to his injury that ended his season in September. By cutting down his workload now, he should be in better shape come August and September this year — obviously, barring some other unforeseen setback.
Towers also paired up with Halladay on a run around the complex today, too. Gibbons added that Towers spent time with Reed Johnson this offseason in Las Vegas, where Johnson lives and where they worked together with a trainer. Gibbons isn’t counting Towers out, as far as the competition for the Nos. 4-5 spots in the rotation goes. After all, Towers did win 13 games in ’05.
"I’m a big Josh fan — always have been. He’s done a good job for us here. I think last year was just an aberration," Gibbons said. "I expect him to bounce back. Josh is one of those guys you root for, because he’s never had anything handed to him."
He’ll certainly have to earn his way into Toronto’s rotation again, that’s for sure. That’s all for now. I’ll be back at the complex tomorrow for the reporting day, which only means pitchers and catchers have to be in town — not necessaarily at the training center. So stay tuned for more…