What happens when you assume?
TAMPA — In this case, all the assumptions were right. No one on the Blue Jays had come straight out and said it, but it’s been written all spring that Gustavo Chacin’s chances of making the rotation were slim to none.
Well, on Tuesday, after Chacin was roughed up by the Yankees, Toronto manager John Gibbons came out and said it. But he didn’t say Chacin’s chances were slim — Gibbons said his chances were none. That’s barring a few injuries, of course.
When asked if Chacin was still considered a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, Gibbons said: "No, he hasn’t been. We knew that."
Right, we’ve pretty much known that, but now one of the men in charge made it official. So, even with Casey Janssen sidelined for a while with a right shoulder issue, it’s Jesse Litsch as the favorite to round out the rotation. Chacin’s arm strength and velocity just aren’t there.
On Tuesday, Chacin took the hill as the starter against New York, only because the Jays opted to have Dustin McGowan throw in a Minor League game. In two innings, Gus threw 36 pitches (20 strikes) and yielded four runs on five hits with two walks and no strikeouts.
The first four batters Chacin faced reached base and scored. Melkly Cabrera singled, Derek Jeter walked, Bobb Abreu celebrated his birthday with a two-run double, and Alex Rodriguez launched a two-run homer. That pretty much killed any shot Chacin had — not that he had much of one anyway.
Chacin only made five April starts last year and then was sidelined with a shoulder injury all season. He then went under the knife in August to repair a torn labrum. Coming back from that in time to be the starter he was in 2006 was a little much to ask. Over the past two years, forearm, elbow and shoulder injuries have limited Gus to 22 starts.
"His arm strength is down," Gibbons said. "He has to build his arm back up. He’s not throwing really hard, but that’s going to come with time. With what he’s coming off of, it’s going to take a while to build that."
No word yet on Janssen’s MRI results. That might have to wait until tomorrow. Before I head out to grab some dinner at PF Chang’s with Bryan Hoch of the Yankees’ MLB.com site, I’ll leave you with this gem from Gibby.
When asked this morning about Toronto looking at Armando Benitez, Gibbons hadn’t heard whether or not it was a done deal yet:
"They have to take money away from me in order to sign him."