Burnett returns, League departs
The names on the transaction line weren’t surprising, but there was an unexpected element to the move. A.J. Burnett was activated as scheduled, and Brandon League was cleared from the roster to make room. But, instead of being optioned, which was the expectation, League was placed back on the 15-day disabled list.
According to the Jays, League, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 4, has been bothered recently by a pulled oblique. League spent the the better part of the first four months of the season on the DL with an "overdeveloped lat muscle" or a "shoulder injury" — the explanation has never been completely clear. League has said the shoulder and the lat issues were related, and they played a role in his diminished velocity when he showed up to spring. So, after a .419 batting average against and a 6.75 ERA in seven outings, League is back on the DL.
I, for one, was glad to see Frasor didn’t get demoted. Outside of a few rough outings, he hasn’t pitched too poorly for the Jays. He hasn’t been as sharp in his past few trips to the mound either, but can you expect much else when the guy is going a week between appearances? It’s been hard for Frasor to find the innings with how well Toronto’s starters have been pitching. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see if League will see any more big-league innings this season.
This leads to an interesting question:
League was supposed to be the setup man this year — a job that has fallen to Casey Janssen. If B.J. Ryan comes back as expected next year, the thinking seems to be that fill-in closer Jeremy Accardo slips back into the right-handed setup role with Scott Downs as the left-handed option in the eighth inning.
So, what happens to Janssen? Should the Jays keep him in the ‘pen, where he’s excelled? Or, should he be an option for the rotation, which has been the long-term plan from the beginning? And, what should happen with League? Should he still be given a shot at the setup role, or has his season dropped him to the middle-relief realm for the future?
No matter how you slice it, the Jays appear to have a solid pitching staff for 2008.
AL EAST STANDINGS
entering Sunday’s game
1. Boston 70-47 (–)
2. New York 66-51 (4)
3. Toronto 58-57 (11)
4. Baltimore 54-62 (15.5)
5. Tampa Bay 45-71 (24.5)
AL WILD CARD RACE
entering Sunday’s game
1. Seattle 65-50 (–)
2. New York 66-51 (–)
3. Cleveland 65-53 (1.5)
4. Toronto 58-57 (7)
5. Minnesota 58-59 (8)