Clement cut, Phils @ Jays pregame

Wow, just got back into the pressbox after about a five-minute long sneezing fit. The A/C in here was up a tad high I think. I haven’t had a prolonged sneeze attack like that in a looong time. Man am I glad it’s over.

But, enough about me…

The Jays sent Matt Clement and Curtis Thigpen — no surprises there — back to Minor League camp. Clement is going to talk to his agent and discuss whether he should accept a Triple-A assignment. As for Thigpen, it’s not clear what’s next. Could be a backup in Double-A with playing time at multiple spots.

Here’s what GM J.P. Ricciardi had to say on Clement:

“The only thing we can do is if a guy goes down and pitches well they get the opportunity to come back to the big leagues. But, we can’t give you any assurance that we’re going to call you up to the big leagues. It’s all based on performance.

“I think Matt is getting better. Every time out, he gets a little better and I think he owes it to himself to go down for a couple more months and give himself a real legit shot. He’s coming back from something major and I think he’s made major strides.

“But, right now, we don’t think he can make our big league club — right now. That doesn’t mean in June he might be more equipped to do that. He’s definitely got to pitch somewhere. He likes it here. He likes the guys that are here and he likes Arnsberg.

“He’s in a good situation, we know him. We just think he needs a little more time and we’re willing to give him that time. It’s up to him if he wants to take advantage of it.”

Travis Snider is back in the lineup, Marco Scutaro is as well, but Lyle Overbay was sent home with the flu. Overbay took part in morning BP and fielding drills. Minus Overbay, the lineup is probably pretty darn close to what you’ll see come Opening Day.

Beyond Clement and Thigpen, the Jays also returned Brian Burres, Randy Ruiz and Angel Sanchez to Minors camp. With Thigpen gone, it’s down to Michael Barrett and Raul Chavez for the backup jobs — Barrett in the lead. With Clement out, it’s down to Scott Richmond, Brad Mills and Ricky Romero for the Nos. 4-5 starting jobs. I still say it’ll be Richmond and Mills… we’ll see.

Today’s lineups:

PHILLIES
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Shane Victorino, CF
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Jayson Werth, RF
Raul Ibanez, LF
Pedrio Feliz, 3B
Chris Coste, DH
Carlos Ruiz, C

Chan Ho Park, P

JAYS
Marco Scutaro, SS
Aaron Hill, 2B
Alex Rios, CF
Vernon Wells, DH
Scott Rolen, 3B
Kevin Millar, 1B
Adam Lind, LF
Rod Barajas, C
Travis Snider, RF

David Purcey, P

~JB

30 Comments

Nice to see the ‘A’ lineup (minus Overbay) out there for a game. But seeing the lineup put together like this, there is one major issue that jumps out right away – Scutaro as lead off. I realize we don’t have a legit lead off guy, but i’d rather see them flip one and two around and let Hill lead off. If Hill has an even average season, he’ll have a higher BA and OBP than Scutaro. Then Scutaro can be utilized to move Hill up a base.
I know Hill isn’t an ideal lead off guy, but better suited than Scutaro in my opinion.

The only true option we have at leadoff is Alex Rios. He really can be a 30/30 guy. But I think the only way we can afford to push him into the leadoff spot is if snider is really ready to produce. Then this is what I would put out there:

Rios
Hill
Snider
Wells
Overbay
Rolen
Lind
Barajas
Scutaro

Split up the lefty/righties.

I dont like Rios at the top. I can see the arguments for it, but I would rather have him in a spot he can produce runs as well as score them. Especially if he finally lives up to his full potential he can be a huge threat in the middle of the order. He has the ability to lead the american league (or at least top 5) in total bases with his speed and power. Scutaro is a solid player, I think he is really underrated. His stats don’t jump out at you but he does alot of things right. He can lay down a bunt, move runners along little things like that.

From the boxscore of the game Wells stole 3rd base. Thats a good sign. Hopefully he is healthy.

To me the lineup shows multiple weaknesses. Lead-off is probably the most noticeable, but Wells is not a 4th hole hitter, he should be batting 6th. we’re weaK in lead-off, the 4th and 5th hole.
Rios is excellent in the 3rd spot and should permantly stay there, as should Hill in the 2nd hole. We need big bonkers for the 4th and 5th spots-which should probably be our 1st and 3rd base guys.
To work with what he’s got, Cito has little option but to put Scutaro in lead-off, although I’d also like to see us try Overbay there against a rh once in a while.

Denoit

I agree, Scutaro is a quality player, and he did an amazing job filling in last year when needed, in fact he was one bright spot in a very disappointing season for the Jays. However, the things you point out, laying down a bunt, and moving runners along, make him a better number two hitter, not lead off.
I know it may not sound this way, but I am a fan of Scutaro….I just don’t like him at the top of the line up.

Nice outing from Purcey against a very strong lineup. 5 hits, 2 bb’s, 2 k’s and 1 unearned run through 5 innings to lower his st era to 1.10. Gotta like that.

Guess I posted too quickly. Purcey went back out for the 6th and gave up a hr. but still turned in a very good outing, with only 1 earned run.

Ryan is starting to concern me, he doesn’t have his control back and I believe his velocity is still below what it was pre-operation.
Ryan has now pitched in 6 games, 5 innings, 6 bb’s, 5 k’s, 6 hits, 6 runs.

GS,
it gets even worse. I read today that Ryan was in the mid 80’s. I agree with you about the lineup, especially with leadoff being the weakest point. I’d say the best fit is as you mentioned Overbay against righties but maybe go with Scutaro or Rios against lefties. Either way it’s not a strong point.

Jordan,
Any word on why Shawn Hill chose San Diego ? all things being equal I can’t understand why he wouldn’t want a chance to pitch for a team that is a 30 minute drive away from his birth place. Only thing I can think of is that J.P. was as interested as he let on.

Enigma
Mid 80’s is below where he was last year when he came back. Maybe he didn’t work as hard this off-season as he did coming back from the injury-who knows. It might also explain all the walks, maybe he’s trying to paint it too fine and missing. One way or the other mid 80’s
is a problem.
Don’t know about Shawn Hill, maybe San Diego offered more dollars if he made the team or maybe JP was simply lying like he was on Pudge.
I think JP knows he’s gone as soon as the new Pres. comes on board and he’s simply marking time. I hope Beeston decides to keep the job and start making the changes we need to compete-including dumping JP.
If we are going to compete in 2010, the changes need to be made soon.

Just to correct my last sentence above, I meant WASN’T as interested as he let on.
As for the dollars, you may be right about that.

Joe Koshansky-1st baseman, of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA affiliate of the rockies) was optioned back to AAA last night, apparently because the Rockies are enamored with veteran Todd Helton, who has blocked Joe’s entry to MLB for at least the last couple of years.
Koshansky did last year was hit .300/ 31 hr.’s and 121 rbi’s in 122 games. He’s been the PCL all star two years in a row, and has been the all star 1st baseman virtually at each minor league level in his career.
He would make a wonderful addition to the Blue Jays. Paul Beeston, make the call.

Shawn Hill stands a better chance to go right into the rotation in SD. I read it in trade rumors.

It looks like the Jays missed a chance to get rid of Ryan this Winter, now what do they do with him, he can’t seem to find his fastball anymore, I for one think he is done. just think what they could do with his 20mm for the next 2 seasons.

If the pitchen holds together this year, i think this team will surprise us this year, just look at the way these guys are hitting this spring, our offence just may be wicked and our defence is solid.

Garry
I hope you’re wrong about Ryan, if you’re right it is a major problem-no question.
I’d be surprised if our young pitchers didn’t struggle from time to time, they will all take their turn at brilliance and disaster like all young pitchers do.
But if we remain patient with them and keep sending them back out there, like we did with Marcum and McGowan, we will be in good shape for 2010 or 2011.
I think the offense is going to depend on how well Rolen, Wells and Overbay play and whether we remain injury free or not. Having Hill back is a big plus, BUT we need power production from these 3 guys to remain competitive.

I agree with you G.S. though I am not as worried about Wells. I think the guys that have to step up the most are Overbay and Rolen. At the very least if they have good seasons they can be used as trade bait at the deadline.

Garry thank you for clearing that up, I did check out the Padres rotation and it is pretty thin after Peavy. Especially compared to the Jays, so it makes sense in the regard. Still though to pass up a chance of pitching for your hometown team and instead go to a 99 loss one would take alot of thought if it were me.

Millar will give us the punch at first base, I think Overbay will be gone by the trade deadline.
Wells i think will be very good this year, that big contract has made him rethink himself.
I think Rolen will be fine too.
Hill is a plus.
09 will be a great year where we get to watch a lot of young players, 10 and 11 will be even better.

Price down to AAA. Too bad the Jays don’t play the Rays until end of June. He’ll be back up and in mid-season form by then.

Don’t worry rene our youn guns will be just as good.

didn’t we have a great bullpen without ryan the last few years – i seem to remember league, downs, carlson and accardo holding the fort pretty well.

Yes we did and they can do it again.

Kate you still alive.

Hey bosoxbrian I had a heart attack 3 weeks ago but I’m okay now, but i just had a thought if i had died i could have watched the Jays on a hundred foot screen in heaven, but if i went to hell do you think they would have made me watch the sox over and over and over.lol.

rene-I agree with you on Price.
Garry, our young pitchers are not in the same class as Price-he’s the next Santana. And no, the Sox aren’t that bad this year that they’re going to hell. lol
tan-agreed, we did, but I wouldn’t want to see the jays have to eat Ryans contract-that would be the issue.

Brett Cecil and David Price had comparable stats last season. Brett was even a year younger. Now im not a scout or anything and Im sure there is good reason Price is ranked 2nd best prospect in baseball. But just by looking at numbers I don’t think Cecil is getting enough credit for what he did. I’d definatly say Cecil could be in the same class when everything is said and done.

Garry ,
I am still around , I read the blog and check out the games (gs hasn’t scared me away yet ….lol….) I am sorry to hear that you had an attack . How are you and your wife doing ? I hope the two of you are taking it easy and wish you a speedy recovery. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Ryan is a concern. With everything I have read, I am beginning to wonder if he is injured or had a set back . I agree , I wouldn’t want the Jays to have to eat his salary . Jays have far too many injuries to pitchers . Ryan, Marcum, McGowan, League, Accardo, Jassen all in the last couple years , something needs changing in their training program . I hope Doc’s struggles from his last couple of games are due to him working on a pitch / technique and not something else

Janssen not Jassen, sorry about that

Kate I’m fine now but my wifes arm is not heald yet we will know know more in two weeks and thanks for your concern.

Maybe Ryan will come back but the reason I think they should have traded him this Winter is if this team is not sopposed to go anywhere this year why carry him, why not trade him and save the money.,We will know for sure about Doc after his next start, If he is hurting he may not say so and try to work it out after all he is a gamer.

I am now going to agree with denoit on Cecil.

Enigma go to trade rumors and read about Hill maybe the Jays missed out after all.

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