This was the sight before noon on Wednesday, when the Blue Jays gathered one last time at the Bobby Mattick Training Center for a spring workout. After some rounds of catch, a few swings during batting practice and some conditioning drills, Toronto pulled up the stakes and moved south to Knology Park.
On Thursday, the Jays host their first Grapefruit League game of Spring Training. Roy Halladay is slated to take the hill for two innings against the Red Sox, who aren’t likely to send many of their regulars. As for the Jays, projected starters Reed Johnson (stiff back), Alex Rios (tender shoulder) and Frank Thomas (taking things slowly this first week) aren’t expected to be in the lineup.
Here’s who are tentatively penciled in: first baseman Lyle Overbay, second baseman Aaron Hill, shortstop Royce Clayton, third baseman Troy Glaus, catcher Gregg Zaun, center fielder Vernon Wells, Adam Lind (left field), Matt Stairs (right field and possibly Curtis Thigpen (designated hitter). As with every spring, the starters will probably play a handful of innings before hitting the showers.
Scheduled to pitch: Halladay (two innings), and one inning each from B.J. Ryan, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Jeremy Accardo, Ty Taubenheim and Ryan Houston. Boston is sending lefty Kason Gabbard to the mound as its starter.
LEAGUE UPDATE: The alarms aren’t blaring yet in regards to the health of right-hander Brandon League, but manager John Gibbons didn’t sound too optimistic when he discussed the situation on Wednesday. League, who entered camp as the leading candidate for the setup job, has been dealing with tightness near his throwing shoulder.
"Everything pretty much right now is revolving around League," Gibbons said. "Hopefully, he’ll be ready. If not, it shouldn’t be too long after the start of the season. That’s the biggest concern right now."
That’s all for now. There are some new photos (Halladay, Gibbons, GM J.P. Ricciardi and Phils GM Pat Gillick chatting today, Tomo Ohka, and Pat Hentgen, among others) in the Spring Training Photo Album. I probably won’t be able to take as many pics now that games are starting.
More to come tomorrow from Knology Park. Stay tuned…
The photo below, taken by Mike Cassese (Reuters), was the subject of some debate today:
Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star: "He’s describing Godzilla."
Jeremy Sandler of the National Post: "He’s asking, ‘Which one smells better?’"
When Gibbons showed up in the media work room for today’s sit down with the press, I asked him if he remembered what was going on during the exchange. He looked at the photo, laughed, and shrugged his shoulders.
"Man, I don’t know. Maybe I was saying, ‘I thought you’d be taller,’" Gibbons said with a chuckle.
What are some captions that you would put with that photo?