May 2007

Game #43: Jays at Phils pregame

Toronto (19-23) at Philadelphia (21-22)
at 1:35 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park

Today’s lineups:

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Matt Stairs, LF
Aaron Hill, 2B
Royce Clayton, SS
Jason Phillips, C
Jesse Litsch, P

PHILLIES
Aaron Rowand, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Pat Burrell, LF
Greg Dobbs, 1B
Abraham Nunez, 3B
Rod Barajas, C
Adam Eaton, P

NOTES: If RHP Tomo Ohka is not used out of the bullpen on Sunday, Toronto manager John Gibbons said he’d likely start in Monday’s Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, N.Y. Ohka is slated to rejoin Toronto’s rotation on Saturday in Minnesota. … Glaus and Hill will likely sit out of the HOF Game on Monday. … Jays travel secretary, Mike Shaw, suited up and took BP on the field at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon. He yanked one pitch just over the left-field wall for a homer as the Jays standing nearby erupted in cheers.

Game #42: Jays at Phils pregame

Earlier today, I ran the steps of the Museum of Art like Rocky and had my picture taken by his statue. Then I took some time out to actually wander through the museum to take in some culture, and was elated to find out Philly had Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting. I’m a big fan of Van Gogh’s work and many of the impressionists and enjoyed seeing some classics this morning. After that, I hoofed it from the Museum, down the Ben Frankling Parkway and all the way down to the Liberty Bell. It was a beautiful day until I got to the ballpark, where the field was covered with a tarp until about 45 minutes before game time. Hopefully we avoid the rain and get this game in tonight. I’ll probably post some pictures on here later from my journey around town. For now, here’s today’s pregame blog:

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Toronto (18-23) at Philadelphia (21-21)
at 7:05 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park

Today’s lineups:

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Matt Stairs, LF
Jason Phillips, C
John McDonald, SS
Shaun Marcum, P

PHILLIES
Aaron Rowand, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Pat Burrell, LF
Greg Dobbs, 1B
Abraham Nunez, 3B
Carlos Ruis, C
Jamie Moyer, P

NOTES: Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said that the Jays shut LHP Gustavo Chacin down on Wednesday and he’ll stay away from throwing for 10-14 days from that point. Chacin (out since April 30) has still experienced pain in his shoulder while playing catch. … Arnsberg said he detected a problem with RHP Dustin McGowan’s release point during the young pitcher’s erratic fifth inning on Friday night. … RHP Roy Halladay threw for a third straight day on Saturday and Arnsberg said he could possibly get back on a mound within the next week. … CF Vernon Wells, slowed earlier this month by a virus, hasn’t homered since April 24 or collected an RBI since April 28. He said the sickness drained his strength, caused him to lose about eight pounds and has been a reason he’s been struggling at the plate.

Game #41: Jays at Phils pregame

This is my first time at Citizens Bank Park, or in Philadelphia for that matter, and so far, so good. Tomorrow I may take a look at the Liberty bell or perhaps run the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art like Rocky. For now, though, I’ll just get today’s pregame blog (Interleague Play edition) out of the way:

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Toronto (18-22) at Philadelphia (20-21)
at 7:05 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park

Today’s lineups:

PHILLIES
Aaron Rowand, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Pat Burrell, LF
Greg Dobbs, 1B
Wes Helms, 3B
Carlos Ruiz, C
Jon Lieber, P

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Adam Lind, LF
Royce Clayton, SS
Sal Fasano, C
Dustin McGowan, P

NOTES: RHP Roy Halladay, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on May 11, has started to play catch. He threw on Thursday and Friday. … DH Frank Thomas was out of the lineup for the first time this season due to the National League format in Philly. Thomas is "our pinch-hitting specialist," as Toronto manager John Gibbons put it. … Remember C Rod Barajas? The catcher the Jays "signed" and then had back out of the deal? Well, he’s played his way out of the starter’s job for Philly, hitting just .174 in 16 games. … Overbay moved up tot he second slot because Gibbons’ preferred to have Lind hit lower in case a double switch was needed later in the game. … The Yankees signed former Jays righty Pete Walker to a Minor League deal and the 38-year-old has been working out at the club’s camp in Tampa.

Game #40: Orioles at Blue Jays pregame

Baltimore (18-22) at Toronto (17-22)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

Today’s lineups:

ORIOLES
Brian Roberts, 2B
Nick Markakis, RF
Miguel Tejada, SS
Aubrey Huff, DH
Melvin Mora, 3B
Jay Gibbons, LF
Kevin Millar, 1B
Corey Patterson, CF
Paul Bako, C

PITCHING: LHP Brian Burres

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Frank Thomas, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Ryan Roberts, LF
Jason Phillips, C
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP A.J. Burnett

NOTES: RHP Jesse Litsch will remain in the rotation and is scheduled to make his second career start on Sunday in Philadelphia. For now, RHP Tomo Ohka will move into the bullpen. Toronto won’t need a fifth starter again until May 26, when Ohka may or may not move back into the rotation. … INF Jason Smith was claimed off waivers by the Diamondbacks. … Roberts received his first start in left field on Wednesday. Toronto manager John Gibbons said Roberts will occasionally spell left fielder Adam Lind versus left-handed starters. … Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said injured LF Reed Johnson is on schedule to potentially return to Toronto by mid-June. … Also, Ricciardi said RHP Brandon League has shown signs of improvement. His velocity is currently in the low 90s and he pitched in an extended spring game this week. He’s scheduled to throw again on Friday. … C Gregg Zaun (broken right thumb) will travel with the Jays to Philly and Baltimore.

Game #39: Orioles at Blue Jays pregame

If Troy Glaus can shrug off a bone spur in his heel and return to belt a game-changing home run, then I guess I can work through a little back pain. After being immobilized for most of yesterday, I’m feeling a lot better. Thanks to those of you who sent me get well messages. My back’s still really tight and I may have a trip to the chiropractor in the near future, but it’s not so bad that I can’t head back to "the office." Here’s today’s pregame blog:

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Baltimore (18-21) at Toronto (16-22)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

Today’s lineup:

ORIOLES
Brian Roberts, 2B
Nick Markakis, RF
Miguel Tejada, SS
Ramon Hernandez, C
Aubrey Huff, 1B
Melvin Mora, 3B
Jay Gibbons, DH
Jay Payton, LF
Corey Patterson, CF

PITCHING: RHP Daniel Cabrera

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Adam Lind, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Frank Thomas, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Jason Phillips, C
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP Jesse Litsch — Major League debut

NOTES: Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said Tuesday that INF Jason Smith was not designated for assignment — he was placed on waivers. Teams have until 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday to claim Smith. If he isn’t claimed, the Jays will need to offer him back to the Cubs for $25,000 (Smith was selected from the Cubs in December’s Rule 5 Draft). If the Cubs decline, then Smith is Toronto’s to keep and place into its Minor Leagues.

Bastian to the DL?

I’m in bed, typing with one hand. Apparently, the Blue Jays’ injury woes aren’t limited to the field. During my daily afternoon workout, something yanked in my back and now I have sheer pain that slices through my back with any slight movement. Needless to say, I won’t be making it to the park tonight. I’m stuck in bed and hoping to avoid a trip to the DL. This Jays injury bug is ruthless.

NOTE: The word seems to be that Toronto plans on calling righty Jesse Litsch up from Double-A for tomorrow’s start.

'Tis a Mystery

With the way things have been going lately, it’s hard to not to question things you hear around Blue Jays camp — blame the B.J. Ryan "back injury" thing if you want to point to something specific. Take a scenario within Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Devil Rays, for example.

Toronto was trailing Tampa Bay, 1-0, heading into the eighth inning. The Devil Rays — void of any left-handers in the bullpen — called up righty Brian Stokes to face Jays catcher Jason Phillips (righty), who was leading off the inning, followed by Ryan Roberts (righty) and Adam Lind (lefty). Jays manager John Gibbons called for a pinch hitter: John McDonald, who bats from the right side.

On the bench, presumably, was right fielder Alex Rios — Toronto’s leader with seven home runs who has gone 7-for-17 on the current homestand. McDonald, on the other hand, had never faced Stokes and was 1-for-his-last-25 at the plate. Also on the bench was a left-handed option in Jason Smith if Gibbons wanted to play the percentages.

McDonald promptly grounded out to the pitcher, Roberts (no hits in three games this year and filling in at third for the injured Troy Glaus) flew out to center, and Lind grounded out to second base. Again, Rios or Smith were presumably available to pinch hit for either McDonald or Roberts.

Afterward, when Gibbons was asked why he decided McDonald was the man for the situation, he replied:

"I’ve got my reasons. You don’t need to know everything. I had my reasons. I just chose to do it that way at that time."

With the way Toronto’s clubhouse has been transformed into an infirmary, it was easy to question whether or not that meant something was wrong with Rios. Before and after the game, though, Gibbons insisted Rios was fine. It was merely a day off for the right fielder. Toronto’s manager also said there was nothing wrong with Phillips.

So, in almost comedic fashion, a pack of us reporters waited in the clubhouse for Rios to finally emerge so we could get his take on the situation. When a team official approached Rios to tell him the media wanted to talk to him, he looked absolutely puzzled.

Everything OK?

"Yeah, I’m fine."

Could you have pinch hit in that situation?

"Of course."

Do you have any idea why you weren’t playing?

"I have no clue. Day off, I guess."

OK, that’s that. Gibbons had his reasons.

GLAUS UPDATE: After the loss, Glaus said he was "feeling better" after re-injuring his left heel on Friday, and Gibbons said the third baseman might just avoid a second DL stint after all. Toronto doesn’t need to make a roster move until Tuesday, when it needs a replacement starter for the injured Roy Halladay.

Game #37: Rays at Jays pregame

Tampa Bay (14-22) at Toronto (15-21)
at 1:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

Today’s lineups:

DEVIL RAYS
Rocco Baldelli, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Ty Wigginton, 3B
B.J. Upton, 2B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Delmon Young, RF
Dioner Navarro, C
Johnny Gomes, DH

PITCHING: RHP Jae Seo

BLUE JAYS
Adam Lind, LF
Matt Stairs, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Frank Thomas, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Royce Clayton, SS
Jason Phillips, C
Ryan Roberts, 3B

PITCHING: RHP Shaun Marcum

NOTES: Marcum was making his first start since Sept. 30, 2006. … Still no word on whether or not 3B Troy Glaus (sore left foot) was headed to the DL. Toronto manager John Gibbons said Glaus was "making progress" since injuring his foot during Friday’s game. … Gibbons also indicated that whoever is called up to start on Tuesday would likely only be in the rotation for one start. … Gibbons cited the Rays’ lack of any lefties in the bullpen as the reason for having three left-handed hitters (Lind, Stairs and Overbay) in the first four slots of the lineup. Right fielder Alex Rios was just given the day off.

Game #36: Rays at Jays pregame

Tampa Bay (14-21) at Toronto (14-21)
at 1:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

Today’s lineups:

DEVIL RAYS
Rocco Baldelli, DH
Brendan Harris, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Ty Wigginton, 2B
B.J. Upton, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Delmon Young, RF
Dioner Navarro, C
Josh Wilson, 3B

PITCHING: RHP Edwin Jackson

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Adam Lind, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Frank Thomas, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Jason Smith, 3B
Royce Clayton, SS
Sal Fasano, C

PITCHING: RHP Dustin McGowan

NOTES: Toronto recalled INF Ryan Roberts from Triple-A Syracuse to take RHP Roy Halladay’s (15-day DL) spot on the roster. … 3B Troy Glaus wasn’t placed on the DL after suffering a left foot injury on Friday, but the Jays don’t need to make a decision regarding his status until Tuesday, when they will need a replacement starter for Halladay. … Halladay’s replacement will likely be one of these Minor Leaguers: Ty Taubenheim, Josh Banks, David Purcey or Jesse Litsch. … Clayton was back in the lineup after missing a few games with a sore back, according to manager John Gibbons. … LHP Gustavo Chacin played catch prior to Saturday’s game — his first time throwing since injuring his lef shoulder on April 30. … Halladay was released from Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto on Saturday.

Game #35: Rays at Jays — Halladay to DL

Take a deep breath Jays fans. Toronto ace Roy Halladay is the latest addition to the disabled list. Prior to Friday’s game against the Rays, Halladay showed up to the park pale in the face and complaining of pain in his side. He came down with acute appendicitis and needed immediate surgery. The Jays will be without Doc for roughly four to six weeks.

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Tampa Bay (14-20) at Toronto (13-21)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

Today’s lineups:

DEVIL RAYS
Rocco Baldelli, CF
Elijah Dukes, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Ty Wigginton, 3B
B.J. Upton, 2B
Delmon Young, RF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Brendan Harris, SS
Josh Paul, C

PITCHING: LHP Scott Kazmir

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Frank Thomas, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Jason Phillips, C
Adam Lind, LF
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP A.J. Burnett

NOTES: Toronto enters the game with a nine-game losing streak. … Toronto hasn’t named a replacement yet for Halladay in the rotation. Jas GM J.P. Ricciardi said the club would discuss the matter after Friday’s game and it’s possible that someone is called up from Triple-A, or even Double-A. … LHP Gustavo Chacin is scheduled to play catch on Saturday.

UPDATE — 7:42 pm: Glaus exited the game in the first inning with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and immediately was replaced by infielder Jason Smith. More later…

There will be no QA during the game tonight. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it again, so stay tuned. ~JB

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