Rotating things around

ST. PETERSBURG — You heard it here first, B.J. Ryan is now in the running for the fifth spot in Toronto’s rotation. I mean, why else would he start on Friday before Jesse Litsch and why else would the Jays not commit to Litsch being the No. 5?

"Yeah, we should convert him," quipped Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, joking about Ryan.

Ryan only started because the Jays wanted to make sure he got an inning done with rain clouds hovering overhead. Litsch followed with 4 2/3 innings in "relief" and gave up three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Litsch struggled with control, which isn’t good for a pitcher trying to wow Toronto.

Casey Janssen and Gus Chacin (a long shot at best, when camp opened) are both out of the running for the fifth, but Toronto continues to plead the fifth. Litsch appears to be the favorite, and manager John Gibbons and Arnsberg have both said they like him as the fifth, but their unwillingness to say he’s the clear frontrunner shows that the internal debate persists.

This could mean that the Jays have a trade in the works, or are merely unconvinced as an organization that Litsch can repeat what he did last season (3.81 ERA in 20 starts as a rook). Or, perhaps it’s just a way for GM J.P. Ricciardi to keep Litsch on his toes — keep the young pitcher from getting too comfortable out there.

With that rotation and the upcoming off-day in mind, here’s the tentative schedule through next weekend from Arnsberg:

Saturday vs. PIT: Roy Halladay
Sunday at MIN: Dustin McGowan
Monday at PIT: A.J. Burnett
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday at BOS: TBA (Shaun Marcum Minor League game)
Thursday vs. NYY: TBA (Roy Halladay Minor League game)
Friday at DET: Jesse Litsch
Saturday at NYY: TBA (Dustin McGowan Minor League game)
Sunday vs. PHI: A.J. Burnett

Arnsberg wants to keep hiding his starts from the Yanks and BoSox, who play the Jays in the first two regular seaosn series. There’s also rumblings that manager John Gibbons is considering using a fifth starter on April 5 in order to give his starters an extra day of rest.

That’s all for today. I’m heading out. On the way back home, I’ll pop in the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols in honor of Wilner, who had never heard Anarchy in the UK before this spring.




What seed do you think Mich. State will end up with? Tom Izzo one of the best coaches, no doubt about it, one of my favorites for sure.

After some of their embarrassing losses this year, the Spartans should just be thrilled to be in the tournament! I’d be thrilled if they make it as an 7 or 8 seed. If they’re any better than that, they should be ecstatic. One thing about MSU, though, no matter what type of season they have, don’t count them out in March. Izzo always has a way of getting his troops prepped for a run.

I would totally agree with you about Izzo. He wins and on top of that he does it with class. Adjustments is the key in the tourney and that is what makes him one of the elite coaches in the nation.

Today the Spartans play the Badgers, I guess who reaches 45 first wins right? Badgers could be the best defensive team in the nation, they guard you when you get off the bus, lol.

A week ago, I posted about the fact that the Jays are in last place, and was told not to worry, it is only preseason. Here are two thoughts. First, it is preaseason for everyone. The spin you put on things would suggest that the Jays are the only ones not playing with a full lineup. Second, and most importantly, this team has been mediocre for a long time. As such, they cannot afford such a dismal showing in preseason. If they are interested in creating a winning environment, they need to start NOW not 3 weeks from now. Your response reminds me a lot of Frank Thomas stance: I don’t need preseason, I will be ready for when the season starts. We know that 3 months into the season, he was hitting in the low .200s still looking for his swing. If I was the Jays’, I would want to put on a strong showing in preseason to show that we are contenders, not pretenders. Appartently, they are not fooling the experts in Las Vegas who have picked the Jays for another mere 85 1/2 wins. I agree with them completely. No one who is a winner, turns their winning attitude off in the preseason and on in the post season. Don’t kid yourself, Boston is going to have a difficult year this year also! At least, that’s my take on things. I am just so sick of people making excuses for this team not winning.

BURT: The point is that teams use spring to build up their pitchers’ stamina and the hitters use spring to work out kinks in their swings. Much of the time, pitchers aren’t looking at results, concentrating on their various pitches that need more work. I’ll be honest, I haven’t looked at the spring standings until today, and you’ll rarely see me cite a spring score or spring stats. Looking over the standings, I guess we can expect Tampa Bay and Florida to make a run at the East titles, huh. Save your worries until mid-to-late April and May.

JORDAN: I guess the Jays’ players just have more kinks and less stamina than every other team. I appreciate your response, and understand what you are saying, but we will have to agree to disagree. It would not surprise me in the least to say the Jays at the bottom of the heap and the Rays at or near the top of the heap for a long time to come.

If I’m not mistaken, the Jays finished dead last (or at least near the bottom of the heap) in the Grapefruit League standings in 1992 and 1993. Nothing to worry about…unless this continues into mid-April.

Last year, jays fans kept saying the bats will come around, but they didn’t. Granted there were numerous injuries that contributed to the hitting slide,but it was frustrating to watch. We don’t need Frank Thomas hitting grand slams in Sept. if we’re 10 games out. Start hitting them March 31 against Chien Ming Wang.

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