Game 38: Chicago at Toronto pregame

So, if you remember a while back, back when the Blue Jays promoted youngsters Brett Cecil and Robert Ray to the rotation, general manager J.P. Ricciardi went on about how they probably weren’t ready for the big league stage, and how they were being thrown into the fire strictly out of necessity.

Well, Ricciardi and the Jays reserve the right to change their collective minds.

Now, Ricciardi wasn’t wrong in his assessment — Cecil and Ray were indeed called up before anticipated due to injuries. On Friday, sitting in the home dugout, once again asked about the progress of recovering starters Ricky Romero, Casey Janssen and Jesse Litsch, Ricciardi altered his tune slightly.

“Right now, we don’t have a spot for them,” said Ricciardi, referring to Romero, Janssen and Litsch. “That could change real quick.”

As for Cecil, Ray, Scott Richmond and converted reliever Brian Tallet, Ricciardi said: “They haven’t done anything to lose their spots.”

So, Janssen will apparently continue to pitch at Double-A, Romero has been activated from the 15-day DL and assigned to Triple-A (said Ricciardi), and Litsch is on pace to maybe rejoin the Jays by “the middle of June,” according to the GM. As for those currently in the rotation, Ricciardi said he’d want to see a few bad outings in a row to pull the plug on any of them.

“We’re making this up as we go,” said Ricciardi, half joking.

With the team in first place, and the rotation holding its own, there is a method to the madness in a way. Why mess with something that is working for the time being? Then again, there’s the old argument that players don’t lose their jobs just because they landed on the DL, especially players who were performing great (Romero) or have a history of success (Janssen, Litsch).

“We’re breaking tradition,” Ricciardi said with a laugh.

Hey, and remember, this could all change tomorrow.

OTHER ITEMS: LHP B.J. Ryan was back in the clubhouse and he said all the right things about losing his job as the closer. “I walked in there to Cito and said, ‘Cito, I’ll be down there, I’ll pitch whenever you want me to pitch.'” … Jays manager Cito Gaston isn’t a fan of the squeeze bunt. “I don’t know if I’ve ever squeezed,” he said. The question came up because of a situation in the seventh against the Yankes last night. With runners on the corners and one out, game tied 2-2, John McDonald struck out. Under John Gibbons, a squeeze play might have been put into effect. “I wanted Mac to go up there and I wanted him to drive in that run — it didn’t happen. I know that most of the time he’d be looking back, but last night it was, ‘Go do it.’ It didn’t happen, but the inning before he got a big hit for us.” Cito didn’t rule out trying the play before the season was over: “Maybe I will one of these days — I might fool everybody.”

Today’s lineups:


Thumbnail image for WhiteSox.gifCHICAGO WHITE SOX (15-18)

1. Jayson Nix, 3B
2. Chris Getz, 2B
3. Carlos Quentin, LF
4. Jermaine Dye, RF
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Paul Konerko, 1B
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
9. Scott Podsednik, CF

Starter: LHP John Danks (2-2)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (23-14)

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: LHP Brett Cecil (1-0)

~JB

4 Comments

Two on nobody out, Rios strikes out, Wells double play. Neither have had a meaningful RBI all year. They all come in blowouts, but never when we are behind to tied. Move Lind to batting third, Rios behind Rolen, and see if you don’t score more first inning runs. Where would we be without the two rally killers in the middle of the lineup.

Castro will throw a no-hitter down in AAA tonight. I’m calling it. 3rd inning right now.

I agree with J.P. on keeping the rotation intact for now, as you don’t mess with success. I think that old tradition of not having players lose their jobs due to an injury is wrong. This is a competitive business and at any given time you should go with the team that’s most likely to win.

As for the McDonald question in the seventh inning of the game against the Yankees, I would have liked to have seen Adam Lind come in and pinch hit for McDonald in that key situation. Then he could have slotted into LF, while Bautista moved to 2B.

When a team in first place only draws 17,000+ fans, tradition has to go. I was listening to a local radio station that posed the question “What do the Jays have to do to win fans back?” The commentator, Jack Armstrong, went on to say that although the Jays lost 2 of 3 to the Yankees, they still played “competitive” baseball. In my opinion, fans will not acknowledge this team until they start beating the top teams in the east: Yankees and Bosox. That said, I have to tip my cap to JP for allowing some of these kids to play. I believe that Litsch and Jannsen are fine individuals, but the truth is, their potential for greatness is well-below that of Cecil, Romereo, and Purcey. I would love to see the Jays get all of the kids up here and let them play:

Roation:
Halladay
Cecil
Romero
Purcey
Litsch

I would then move Jannsen, Redmond (can’t remember his name) and Tallet to the bullpen. I would demote Brandon league — an call him up as needed. I truly believe that we could have the strongest bullpen in all of baseball. Tallet has been great as a starter, but to have that type of arm coming out of the bullpen would be terriffic (IMO).

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