What do you want first?
TAMPA – The good news or the bad? There’s been enough news this morning to put me well behind the normal routine. It’s the fifth inning here at Lengends Field and I have yet to get the lineups up. My apologies, loyal MLBastianites.
Let’s just get the bad news out of the way. If you hadn’t seen on the Web site, or elsewhere, already, Jays pitcher Casey Janssen is sidelined. He was supposed to pitch four innings in a Minor game today, but a right shoulder injury cut his warm-up session short.
Janssen’s down for an MRI later today and he sounded pretty dejected when we caught up with him at Knology Park. Basically, he doesn’t know what’s wrong with his arm just yet, but he certainly knows that his chances of breaking camp as a starter are pretty much shot. Even if it’s a minor setback, I don’t see him recovering in time to be built up for a starting role by Opening Day.
So, barring any other setbacks, it looks like the fifth spot is Jesse Litsch’s spot to lose more than ever. There’s a lot of people within the organization that wanted to keep Janssen in the bullpen and have Litsch in the rotation as it was, and while no one wishes for an injury, if this isn’t a major blow, that looks to be the scenario.
Closer B.J. Ryan turned in one shutout inning in a Minor League game, tossing 16 pitches (9 strikes). He fanned two batters, walked one and induced a groundout. Next up is a Grapefruit League game appearance against the Rays on Friday in St. Petersburg.
Also appearing in the Minor game was Dustin McGowan, and relievers Jeremy Accardo, Brian Tallet and Scott Downs. McGowan pitched four innings and focussed on using his four-seam fastball in the outing. He said his arm felt probably the best it has this spring.
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi didn’t see Ryan pitch, because he was behind a fence in the back of the bullpen talking to veteran reliever Armando Benitez. After Benitez threw in front of Ricciardi and Toronto’s coaching staff, the Jays inked him to a Minor League deal.
The ways things unfolded, it seems purely coincidental that the Jays signed Benitez on the same day Janssen hurt his shoulder. Benitez adds some depth, but he’s hardly a candidate anymore for a setup job and the Jays don’t need him to close. We were standing behind the backstop watching McGowan throw when a man I believe was Benitez’s agent ran over to J.P. and said, "We’ve got a deal."
The offer that was accepted appeared to come prior to Janssen’s injury. Janssen promptly left the complex to see Dr. Steve Mirabello and he’s scheduled to have an MRI later today. When there’s word on that I’ll let you know. That wasn’t the only injury that happened Tuesday morning either.
While watching McGowan, we all heard some commotion on another practice field. Apparently, Toronto Minor League outfielder Moises Sierra lost a baseball in the sun out in right field and the ball came down and hit him straight in the face. Sierra was carted off the field after a laying on the ground for a while.
Later on, there was a foul ball that came pretty close to Ricciardi and another that landed not too far from where us media types were standing.
"It’s like a shooting gallery in here," Ricciardi said.
"They’ll have everyone wearing helmets pretty soon," quipped another coach.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "How’s Marty?" –Toronto Sun’s Mike Rutsey, asking Ricciardi for an update on Casey Janssen. Rutz experienced a minor brain fart and confused the young pitcher’s name with that of former Jays pitcher Marty Janzen.
Other items of note: RHP Tracy Thorpe and INF Sergio Santos were both optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday. Following Monday’s game, INF Russ Adams was optioned to Triple-A and INF Pedro Lopez and C Brian Jeroloman were returned to Minor League camp. Not sure how I missed it, but LHP Davis Romero and INF Chip Cannon were also returned on Saturday (Oh, I know how I missed it, I was off). … Remember Minor League Chad Mottola? He’s back in camp, but the former first-round pick is now a coach with the Jays. He’s going to test out his coaching skills in the Gulf Coast League.
Still want those lineup? Here’s the abbreviated version:
JAYS: SS David Eckstein, RF Matt Stairs, CF Vernon Wells, 3B Scott Rolen, DH Frank Thomas, 1B Lyle Overbay, LF Shannon Stewart, 2B Aaron Hill, C Gregg Zaun. Gus Chacin pitching.
YANKS: CF Melky Cabrera, SS Derek Jeter, RF Bobby Abreu, 3B Alex Rodriguez, DH Jason Giambi, 2B Robinson Cano, 1B Shelley Duncan, LF Jason Lane, C Jose Molines. Chien-Ming Wang twirling.
As a tribute to the Star’s Cathal Kelly, who has since returned to Toronto, and to go along with all the running around I’ve been doing today, here’s my Song of the Day: Scooby Snacks by Fun Loving Criminals.