Game 25: Baltimore at Toronto pregame
The other day Mrs. Bastian wanted to stop in the Blue Jays gift shop here in Rogers Centre and I chuckled when I noticed that there was still a large image of A.J. Burnett on one of the windows of the stadium. It was just distorted enough, though, that it could easily also be a picture of pitcher Robert Ray, who looks like he could be A.J’s kid brother.
Ray will start for the Jays on Saturday for his Major League debut, and lefty prospect Brett Cecil will follow suit on Tuesday. This gives the Jays 3 rookies (Scott Richmond as well) and one converted reliever (Brian Tallet) in the rotation behind ace Roy Halladay. Ray and Cecil are likely temporary fill-ins.
Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi didn’t sugarcoat the situation this afternoon. When asked what he liked about Ray, Ricciardi hesitated and offered this dose of reality:
“Well, he’s healthy,” Ricciardi said. “He’s healthy and it’s his turn to throw. We like him. He’s one of our guys that we think is going to be here eventually, but he may be here too soon.”
The same goes for Cecil, who has had poor results through one month with Triple-A Las Vegas and said he has been working on finding a consistent arm slot. So far, he has struggled in that regard and the result has been a slider that has been more horizontal and a fastball that runs flat.
Ricciardi said the hope is that the Blue Jays can stay afloat with this rotation through May 11, the team’s next off-day. Then, between May 12-20, Toronto hopes to have both Ricky Romero (right oblique) and Casey Janssen (right shoulder) back in the mix. Shortly thereafter, Jesse Litsch (right forearm/elbow) may be back and Brian Tallet will likely be back in the ‘pen.
According to Ricciardi, Ray, Cecil and Tallet might each have two more starts before the club reasses its starting staff.
“In all fairness to these guys, they shouldn’t be here right now,” Ricciardi said. “We’re kind of forcing them based on circumstances. We like these guys — they’re going to be a part of what we do here — but circumstances have put us in this spot. So, for a 10-day period, we’ll just see if we can hold the fort down.”
Some other updates: Romero is scheduled to throw in a bullpen session on Saturday. He might throw another on either Monday or Tuesday, or he might begin a rehab assignment. … Litsch played catch on Friday and will be re-evaluated on Saturday. … Closer B.J. Ryan (left trapezius) will travel to the Jays’ complex in Florida after this homestand and he’ll be put on a throwing program. He isn’t throwing right now. … Beyond Ray and Cecil, the Jays also promoted reliever Brian Wolfe. Ricciardi and manager Cito Gaston said they chose Wolfe over righty Jeremy Accardo because Wolfe is more able to jump in as a long reliever. Accardo has been working one-inning outings for the most part. … Sent to Triple-A were David Purcey, Brian Burres and Bryan Bullington.
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Adam Jones, CF
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
5. Melvin Mora, 3B
6. Luke Scott, LF
7. Ty Wigginton, DH
8. Gregg Zaun, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS
Starter: LHP Mark Hendrickson (1-3)
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Kevin Millar, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Jose Bautista, LF
Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (4-1)