DUNEDIN, Fla. — Funny that I’d wind up getting a nice photo of Reed Johnson looking over his shoulder today (left), because that’s exactly what he’s doing now that the Jays have thrown Shannon Stewart into the mix.
Stewart is expected to be in camp on Monday — his 34th birthday, no less — and he’ll be competing with Johnson for one half of the left-field platoon. Toronto manager John Gibbons said it’s going to be a platoon regardless of who makes the club, so Stairs’ playing time isn’t influenced by the move.
Basically, I view this Stewart signing as an insurance policy. Next year, Toronto will be going with Adam Lind in left field. Johnson’s a free agent after this year and he’s coming off a major back injury. He’s says he’s healthy, but if there’s any issues or the Jays aren’t convinced he’s back to being the old Reed, they have Stewart in place as a fallback option.
Or, let’s say someone gets injured this spring (honestly, with all these healthy guys running around, there’s nowhere to go but down), the Jays have some more options in place that can help the club avoid dipping back into the Minor Leagues, unless absolutely necessary.
ON DECK: The Jays will hold their first intrasquad game of the spring on Monday, when the Matticks will square off against the Ceruttis in a six-inning affair at the Bobby Mattick Training Center.
MATTICKS — SS David Eckstein, RF Alex Rios, LF Matt Watson, 3B Scott Rolen, C Gregg Zaun, 2B Marco Scutaro, 1B Chip Cannon, CF Buck Coats, DH Travis Snider
CERUTTIS — LF Reed Johnson, 2B Aaron Hill, CF Vernon Wells, DH Frank Thomas, 1B Lyle Overbay, C Rod Barajas, SS John McDonald, RF Adam Lind, 3B Joe Inglett
Overbay and Inglett were both out with flu-like symptoms on Sunday, but expected to be fine for Monday’s game. Pitchers will include John Parrish, Kane Davis, Shawn Camp, Josh Banks, Mike Gosling, Tracy Thorpe, David Purcey, Jamie Vermilyea, Jesse Carlson, Ryan Ketchner and Jeremy Cummings.
Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Gus Chacin and Davis Romero all threw in live BP on Sunday and won’t pitch in either intrasquad game on Monday or Tueday. On Tuesday, pitchers will include Shaun Marcum, Scott Downs, Jeremy Accardo, Casey Janssen, Brian Wolfe, Randy Wells, Dustin McGowan, Jason Frasor, Brian Tallet, Brandon League, Lance Carter and Jean Machi.
Stretch is at 9:30 a.m., so anyone wanting to come out to watch the game should probably be here by then. When asked if the lineup card for the first game had any mistakes in it, Gibbons said, "I guarantee you there’s a couple."
With that, I’m getting out of here and am looking forward to watching the Oscars tonight. I hope No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood are the big winners. Feel free to browse the spring photo gallery for the new additions.