Toeing the rubber

TORONTO — Whodathunk that a stubbed toe would lead to one of the more unlikely callups of the season for the Blue Jays? Word is that lefty Brian Tallet jammed his right pinky toe while walking through his apartment late at night a few evenings ago.

He stubbed the poor toe so bad that he suffered a non-displaced spiral fracture — got that? Toronto manager Cito Gaston said he prefers to stick with the four lefties in the bullpen, so that meant John Parrish was pulled from the rotation and put in with the relievers.

Up for Wednesday’s start is Canada’s own Scott Richmond, who was all geared up for a trip to Beijing to pitch for Team Canada in the Olympics. Now, while the team gets introduced on Wednesday at Rogers Centre, Richmond will be introduced as Toronto’s starting pitcher. Not bad for a guy who was pitching for Edmonton in the independent leagues a year ago.

It’s a great story — I mean, this guy went from working in a shipyard in North Vancouver to pitching for the Jays — but is this really the best guy on the farm to fill in? On the year, the 28-year-old Richmond is 5-10 with a 4.29 ERA in 21 starts between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse.

At Syracuse, the 6-foot-5 righty went a tough-luck 0-2, but had a tidy 2.53 ERA in five starts, striking out 31 and issuing just six walks over 32 innings. Even Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said he’d never seen Richmond pitch. But, this is the “prospect” who is getting the call. Who know, maybe he’ll turn out to be a late bloomer.

As for pitching prospects Brett Cecil and Ricky Romero, they’ve been promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. That’s a quick climb for Cecil and, well, Romero should’ve been there already, seeing as he was the top pick by the Jays in 2005. In his last seven starts at Double-A, Romero was 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA.

In other news, Ricciardi once again declared that A.J. Burnett isn’t going to be traded — this time saying so definitely. He said he’s received a lot of calls on a lot of players, just “kicking the tires,” and he expects talks to heat up in the next few days as the deadline nears.

Today’s lineups:

TAMPA BAY (61-43) at TORONTO (53-52)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre

RAYS
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
B.J. Upton, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Cliff Floyd, DH
Dinor Navarro, C
Eric Hinske, RF
Jason Bartlett, SS

PITCHING: RHP James Shields (9-6, 3.66)

JAYS
Joe Inglett, 2B
Marco Scutaro, SS
Alex Rios, CF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Rod Barajas, C
Matt Stairs, DH
Scott Rolen, 3B
Adam Lind, LF
Brad Wilkerson, RF

PITCHING: RHP A.J. Burnett (11-9, 4.73)

16 Comments

Excellent outing from AJ. I guess walks don’t matter when you strike out 10. Now if LA and Baltimore hang in, it will be a very good night

Okay…so JP has gone from “no calls” to “lots of calls” all within a handful of days. Get real JP (and friend). Burnett pitched great tonight. Over the last 5 games he may be the best pitcher in all of baseball. The only reason that I can come up with for JP not being able to trade Burnett (or a package that includes Burnett) is that JP is asking for major league players in return to try and save his job. Burnett and Ryan (or some other combination) should be able to fetch a handsome return. As long as teams get another good player in the deal with more than a year in his contract, Burnett’s out clause should not be a factor.
My concern, as I have stated before, is that if the Jays take 2 of 3 (or sweep) the Rays, that will be enough of an excuse for JP to be able to say he accomplished nothing (as he has done for the last 5 trade deadlines) because he believes this team can contend. That said, most toronto fans will be satisfied with a late, but unrealistic run at the playoffs. The leafs get away with it year after year. Why not the Jays?

I have a problem with this web page so I have been having trouble posting.[VIRUS]????.
Great game by Burnett he won in spite of the sloppy DEF.
Lets hope the Doctor pitches well tomorow.

No virus Garry, its the blog itself. Send Jordan an email explaining the problem you’re having.
I have the same problem and advised him.

Jordan fix your blog it is preventing me from loading norton 08.

Maybe J.P. is playing a game and making it seem like he is unavailable. The way Burnett has been pitching, has to be helping his trade value. I don’t know why Burnett is not commanding better offers?

Something might catch J.P. by surprise closer to the deadline. The waiting game. It can be a pretty fun game. Might as well keep Burnett though, if we keep on getting offered the kinds of prospects that Philly was dangling before they traded for Blanton.

From Sports Illustrated

NEW YORK — The Braves are shopping star first baseman Mark Teixeira, and executives with other teams tell SI.com they believe Atlanta will deal Teixeira somewhere — perhaps Arizona — by Thursday’s trade deadline.

The Diamondbacks are one of a few teams showing interest in Teixeira, and people familiar with those talks say the sides are discussing a potential deal that would send young first baseman/third baseman Chad Tracy in a package to Atlanta for Teixeira. An executive with another interested team says he believes the Braves appear “locked in on Arizona” at the moment.

Hey guys, I have no idea what’s going on with the blog — and that’s not my department anyway. I wouldn’t know how to fix whatever you guys say is going wrong. I haven’t had any issues loading or accessing it. Hopefully, it clears up. There might be some kinks the staff is working out still ever since changing the format.

~JB

For sure, we should keep Burnett if we can’t get quality prospects in return. What bothers me is that Burnett’s agent was on the FAN590 this afternoon, talking about how JP cannot trade his client since he promised the Jays’ fan base a contending team. He then went on to suggest that this team was a contender, and the fans would be disappointed if the team traded Burnett. All of these guys, JP included, are spin doctors. How does he know what Jays’ fans want? How many Jays’ games has he watched this year? Does he contribute to a Jays’ blog? No. This team is CRAP — AJ knows it — and will be leaving after this year for greener pastures. What a joke! Are we fans so pathetic that an anemic run at the wildcard, after more than half a season of lousy, uninspired baseball is going to satisfy us? This is all about JP and his inability to improve this squad one way or another. He can’t do it through free agents. He can’t do it through trades. He can’t do it through the draft, as our empty farm system is always ranked among the worst in baseball. Now, in the midst of this pathetic season in which several men lost their livelihood due to JP’s ineptness, we are being told by said JP (and his friends) that we are a contender. We just need to realize we are. What a load of crap! When is this organization going to right itself and give the fans that go to the games and support the team something real and worthwhile to cheer about?

If anyone wants to hear the interview with AJ’s agent, its posted on the Fan 590 web site at:
http://www.fan590.com/media.jsp?content=20080729_135813_2676

Burt, I do take issue with one item in your post which is “several men lost their livelihood due to JP’s ineptness.” I assume you mean Gibbons, Denbro and Whitt. Frankly, Gibbons and Denbro were the cause of their own demise. If both of these guys were replaced a month earlier, we might not be in the position we’re in.
It also sounds from the interview like both AJ and his agent feel the same way.

Thanks for that link Sumner.

thanks for the link sumner.
Can anyone tell me what Scott’s velocity is like ? lots of movement with speed (how fast?) or little movement but lots of MPH. Or is it none of the previously mentioned ?

thanks for the link sumner.
Can anyone tell me what Scott’s velocity is like ? lots of movement with speed (how fast?) or little movement but lots of MPH. Or is it none of the previously mentioned ?

Gsumner:
Sorry, I don’t generally put much stock in the manager and the staff when it comes to on-field performance. As long as they “stay out the way”, any team will perform pretty much the way it is suppose to over a 162 game season. If you take a look at the schedule over the last 6 weeks (and the next couple of weeks), you will see that other than Tampa the Jays are playing extremely weak teams. The fact that Toronto has a decent record is not surprising, given the poor start they had. This team was projected as a .500 team and that is likely where they will finish — no matter who is running the show. Take a look at the schedule for August (post trade deadline and falacious hope supplied by Jays’ management, including Cito). I am sure that the Jays are going to show their “true colours” during this month and fall back out of the picture. One of the great things about baseball is that since they do play 160 games, that is such a large sample size, that a team or player eventually does play to its “true” level of ability. That is one reason why it is so hard to hit .400 at the end of the season.

As for Burnett not wanting to be traded and spouting off that the Jays are a contender — that makes perfect sense. Logically, AJ wants to achieve two things: (1) Leave Toronto at the end of this season and (2) Maximize his profit while here. Right now he has a good thing going. If he wins another 5 games he will end up with 17 overall, no doubt a lower ERA too! Then he go to free agency and get big bucs. The risk he takes in leaving “comfy old toronto” is that if a contending team inserts him into their line up, and he falls flat on his face (or goes .500 has his career stats indicate) his value on the open market will be substantially reduced. Why not stay with a team where there is no real pressure to win, pad your stats, and sell yourself as a 17 game winner. AJ has nothing to gain by being traded and everything to lose. If he stays, everyone knows he is playing for a crap team, so you cannot look at his win-loss record if it is poor. If it is good (17 wins, say), he looks like Cy Young, and teams open the vault for him. It is all spin Gsumner…that is why we will not win this year, the next year, etc. Don’t buy the hype — this team is what it is and where it should be!

Burt-trust me, I don’t buy the hype. But I also don’t buy that JP was responsible for these guys loosing their jobs. If you want to look at ineptness, look no farther than Gibbons and Denbro.
In fairness, JP deserves blame for hiring these two and keeping them in the positions longer than they should have, but it was Denbro’s idea to stress obp which is what his focus was. OBP is fine but it doesn’t mean squat if guys aren’t hitting with risp-which has been the problem with this lineup. Say what you want, but the fact is Cito’s crew has these guys starting to knock in runs and winning games.
I really don’t even want to discuss Gibbons, but if you’ve read this board for a while, I wanted him canned over a year ago.
My point is, one way or the other I blame JP for keeping these guys in their jobs too long, not in firing him.

Enigma, there’s really no information on Richmond because he wasn’t drafted and enter the minor league system. All I could find is he was invited to a spring training camp and the Jays likedwhat they saw and signed him.

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