Labrums and Fingernails
DUNEDIN, Fla. — Those are the storyines today. Casey Janssen is out for the year with a torn labrum in his right shoulder and A.J. Burnett is taking the mound without part of his right index fingernail.
There’s been some minor roster movement over the past few days. Prior to today’s game, lefty Gustavo Chacin was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and Travis Snider was returned to Minor League camp. Yesterday, Russ Adams, Sergio Santos Tracy Thorpe, David Purcey and Jean Machi were optioned to Triple-A, while Pedro Lopez and Brian Jeroloman were sent back to Minors camp.
Before I delve back into the Janssen news for a bit, let’s get to today’s lineups:
PITTSBURGH (4-8-0) at TORONTO (4-9-0)
at 1:05 p.m. ET at Knology Park
Nate McCloth, CF
Jack Wilson, SS
Freddy Sanchez, DH
Jason Bay, LF
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Xavier Nady, RF
Ronny Paulino, C
Jose Bautista, 3B
Luis Rivera, 2B
PITCHING: LHP Zach Duke
David Eckstein, SS
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Frank Thomas, DH
Scott Rolen, 3B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Reed Johnson, LF
Rod Barajas, C
Marco Scutaro, 1B
PITCHING: RHP A.J. Burnett
Now, in regards to Janssen. His absence will certainly effect both the rotation and bullpen. Brandon League looks to be in a good spot for a job in the ‘pen now, and John Parrish could make a push for a starting role.
Jesse Litsch is the clear favorite — Gus Chacin isn’t an option anymore — but GM J.P. Ricciardi said the fifth spot isn’t Litsch’s job by default. Ricciardi said the team would explore trade possibilities and perhaps other avenues. There are a few free agents still out there, and while adding depth is never bad, I say give Litsch the job.
The Jays are also saying the right things about Janssen’s injury, pumping up the idea that he’ll be back at 100 percent by next spring. That’s all well and good, but torn labrums aren’t easy to come back from. It could be a career threatening injury, but Toronto won’t say that.
One comment that I found interesting from Ricciardi was "With Casey Janssen, we have a great bullpen. Without him, we have a good bullpen." This quote comes from the main person who’s been hyping up Janssen as a potential starter. That made it sound like Janssen was going to be in the bullpen no matter what. Interesting, at least.
On another note, there are a few regular players making the trip to Winter Haven for the game against the Indians tomorrow. Shaun Marcum will pitch, followed by Parrish and others, and Gregg Zaun, Lyle Overbay, along with John McDonald, Marco Scutaro, Reed Johnson and Adam Lind, among others, had their names circled on the travel sheet.
I believe my name is circled as well.
UPDATE 4:21 p.m. — After picking up the save in today’s 4-1 win over the pie-rats, Josh Banks was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Burnett pitched well — I continue to be impressed in how strong he’s looked even without his curve — and Wells launched his first homer of the spring.