May 2009

A Rare Standing O

Thumbnail image for DSC02387.jpgOnce in a while, something will happen on the field that just simply amazes everyone in the ballpark. One of those moments came this afternoon in the third inning, when White Sox third baseman Josh Fields drilled the first pitch from Jays starter Scott Richmond down the third-base line.

It was an incredibly well-struck grounder that was destined for the left-field corner. The only problem for Fields was that Scott Rolen — one of the top third baseman this game has seen — was positioned perfectly. Well, positioned perfectly enough to deliver a play that stunned just about everyone inside Rogers Centre.

Rolen dove to his right and snared the grounder with an unbelievable lunging grab. With little time to spare, the Jays third baseman shifted swiftly to his knees and fired the ball across the diamond to first baseman Kevin Millar. The throw beat Fields in plenty of time, while Rolen watched from the ground.

“Unreal. He’s unreal over there,” Richmond said. “He’s made a few great plays like that when I’ve been starting. Fields — I played with him at Oklahoma State — he tattooed that fastball in and, Scotty, I just quickly did a quick look and all I saw was him sprawled out down the line. He’s got that arm to go with it.”

Even Fields acknowledged the incredible effort, not that Richmond noticed that.

“I was too busy looking at Scotty like, ‘Wow,’” Richmond marvelled. “It was just a great play.”

The fans inside the stadium, after being hushed in awe foe a few seconds, began cheering loudly and the crowd moved to its feet. Rolen, the old-school player that he is, stood stone-faced and moved back into position for the next batter. He wasn’t about to let the reaction inside the Dome break his concentration.

“A standing O from the crowd — that doesn’t happen too often for just a single play in the game,” Richmond said. “He’s unbelievable and it’s a pleasure having him out there. … His defense, as you guys know, is second to none. As a young staff, if somebody hits the ball to the hot corner, we know he’s over there and he’s doing his best to help us out, too.”

Jays manager Cito Gaston routinely refers to Rolen as the best third baseman he’s ever seen. Bench coach Brian Butterfield, who oversees the D, says the same. So did former Jays manager John Gibbons. I never saw Brooks Robinson man third, but I can say it is a pleasure to watch Rolen work in the field on a daily basis.

Catch you all in Boston tomorrow.

~JB

Game 41: Chicago at Toronto pregame

It hurts a little when Marco Scutaro swings. It hurts when he throws. It hurts when he bends down to glove a ground ball. That’ll happen when you take a baseball off the sternum while sliding into third base. Ouch.

Despite all the soreness, Scutaro gave a thumbs up to the Jays’ staff after running through pregame drills on Monday morning. There is no doubt he’s sore, but not so much so that he can’t still man short and serve as the leadoff hitter for today’s finale against the ChiSox.

Scutaro was drilled in the chest by a throw from Chicago catcher Corky Miller during the fifth inning of Sunday’s 8-2 win. Scutaro stole third and the ball struck him right as he met up with the bag. Scutaro rolled around in pain, called timeout and eventually left the game. He underwent X-rays at a local hospital, but they came back negative.

That was great news for the Jays. They can ill-afford to lose their sparkplug. Scutaro has been arguably the best leadoff man in the game up to this point and his defense has been nothing short of spectacular. Not bad for a guy who entered this season labeled as a career utility man.

You could make a case that Marco Scutaro has been Toronto’s MVP through the season’s first six weeks (then again, that Aaron Hill fellow hasn’t done too bad for himself either).

While chatting with manager Cito Gaston this morning, the conversation turned to rookie left fielder Travis Snider for a bit.

After looking like he was coming out of his slump — .389 (7-for-18) average over five games from May 5-12 — young Travis has one hit in his last eight trips to the plate, with six of his seven outs being strikeouts (three on Sunday). Snider has just one RBI in his last 10 games and no homers since hitting those two mammoth shots on April 13 in Minny. Overall, Snider is now hitting .240 with three homers and 12 RBIs.

“We might have picked up something last night,” said Gaston, referring to watching Snider’s swing. “We’re going to work with him today when he gets in [the batting cage]. … I’ve already talked to him about it a little bit. Geno and I have talked to him a little bit, so we’ll see how it goes with him.”

“It’s just a mechanical thing that we see that might help him.”

Gaston was then asked if it was fair for some people to jump to the conclusion that a young hitter like Snider might benefit from working his woes out at Triple-A.

“It can happen, if you’re not having success,” Gaston said. “He’s struggling and I’m pretty sure it’s bothering him. But, hey, this kid, whether he’s here the whole year — which I hope he is, because if he is, that means he’s going to be doing some damage — or if he’s not, he’s going to play here. He’s going to be a big part of this club.”

Gaston had said recently that he has decreased the amount of in-game chats he’s had with Snider. Today, Gaston said he will discuss approach with Snider, but he tends to avoid talking about swing mechanics with the rookie during a game.

“Some guys can handle that and some guys can’t,” Gaston said. “He comes to me a little bit — we talk a little bit. It’s about situations, it’s not about mechanics. I don’t believe in talking about mechanics during a game anyway. Although, there are some guys you can talk mechanics to and they’ll make an adjustment.”

BARRETT WATCH: Courtesy of the FAN590′s Mike Wilner, catcher Michael Barrett said that the Blue Jays discovered that he suffered two broken ribs on his right side when he fell on the weighted bat sleeve in April. Barrett said it will be another two weeks before he is allowed to resume any kind of activities.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for WhiteSox.gifCHICAGO WHITE SOX (15-21)

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

Starter: LHP Clayton Richard (0-0)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (26-14)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, LF
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Kevin Millar, 1B
8. Raul Chavez, C
9. Jose Bautista, DH

Starter: RHP Scott Richmond (4-2)

Game 40: Chicago at Toronto pregame

With it being photo day today for the fans, and no batting practice scheduled for the Blue Jays, it was a pretty relaxed atmosphere in the clubhouse. Well, except maybe for catcher Rod Barajas, who was being held down and pummeled by Aaron Hill and Vernon Wells. Boys will be boys.

Outside of the clubhouse, in the tunnel underneath the stands, Marco Scutaro and Alex Rios were testing out Rios’ new toy — a 3-foot long high-powered remote control sportscar. Rios, who has quite the collection of remote-powered helicopters as well, said the car can get up to 40-45 mph.

Today, Rios just had to warm up the engine. No driving it just yet. So, the car sat idling behind a tarp in the tunnel between the clubhouse and the dugout. Scutaro and Rios revved the engine a few times, but we didn’t get to see the car in action. I suggested Rios put his bobblehead in the driver’s seat.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for WhiteSox.gifCHICAGO WHITE SOX (15-20)

1. Scott Podsednik, LF
2. Chris Getz, 2B
3. Jermaine Dye, RF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Alexei Ramirez, SS
7. Josh Fields, 3B
8. Corky Miller, C
9. Brent Lillibridge, CF

Starter: RHP Gavin Floyd (2-3)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (25-14)

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. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (7-1)

Game 39: Chicago at Toronto pregame

Another element to the Blue Jays’ sudden influx of starting piching is that the club has some potential trading chips. If Toronto is still contending deeper into the season, the organization now has some arms that have performed well on the big league stage that could possibly be used to add in other areas.

Consider that behind ace Roy Halladay, the 2010 rotation is projected to also include Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum and one of Casey Janssen, Brett Cecil, David Purcey, Ricky Romero, Scott Richmond and Brad Mills. Now, Robert Ray (today’s starter) is in the picture and GM J.P. Ricciardi constantly mentions prospect Marc Rzepcynski. And, those are just the leading candidates.

With only four spots open, that’s a lot of arms to have in the mix.

“Some of these guys, if you don’t keep them, you can use them if you need somebody during the season,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “If you don’t have enough room for them, maybe you trade them and get somebody you want. They’re always good to have. There’s a lot of need for pitchers these days.

“You have some people you can do it with now.”

Yet another piece to this complicated rotation puzzle to keep in mind.

Today’s lineups:

*Thumbnail image for WhiteSox.gifCHICAGO WHITE SOX (15-19)

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

Starter: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-3)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (24-14)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Jose Bautista, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Raul Chavez, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: RHP Robert Ray (0-1)

*Carlos Quentin was a late scratch from Chicago’s lineup with a sore left heel

~JB

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

Game 37: New York at Toronto pregame

If you’ve been outside Rogers Centre lately, you might have seen the gigantic poster of Bills QB Trent Edwards on the south side of the building — covering the windows where an image of former Jays catcher Gregg Zaun used to be. It’s a bit odd to see a Buffalo player up there alongside the Jays, but it’s all in the name of promoting the NFL games to be played here.

This afternoon, Edwards and wide receiver Lee Evans were at the ballpark — this time sporting their own Blue Jays uniforms — for some early batting practice. While the footballers were dressing in Toronto’s clubhouse, Adam Lind and Rod Barajas tossed a football around the room.

“I haven’t put a baseball uniform on in a loooong time,” Edwards said, laughing as he headed out to the field. “Vernon told me to go with the high socks.”

I didn’t catch all of their BP session, but apparently Edwards hit a pair of home runs. Evans? Well, I saw a few ground balls and some hits to the outfield. The FAN590′s Mike Wilner said Evans defended himself, saying, “My game is speed.” Upon hearing that, Jays managaer Cito Gaston chuckled.

“No, his game is football,” Gaston replied.

As for the baseball here today, Gaston went with an all right-handed lineup against Yanks lefty C.C. Sabathia. Aaron Hill, who fouled a pitch off his left shin yesterday, was in as the DH as a precaution and John McDonald got his first start of the season, but at second base — not at shortstop.

Talked to GM J.P. Ricciardi for a bit about some of the returning arms (specifically, B.J. Ryan, Casey Janssen and Ricky Romero). Ricciardi didn’t want to reveal any return dates. Ryan? “Soon,” Ricciardi said. Casey? “Soon,” was the answer again. Romero? “Not as soon,” Ricciardi said to some laughs.

Ryan (DL’d with a left trapezius injury) threw in a simulated game yesterday because Dunedin’s game was rained out. He will likely be back in the next few days. Ricciardi said Janssen (coming back from a right shoulder issue) is scheduled to pitch for Double-A New Hampshire on Sunday. Romero (DL’d with a right oblique strain) is down to pitch Monday with Triple-A Las Vegas.

Today’s lineups:

Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (16-17)

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixiera, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Brett Gardner, CF
9. Francisco Cervelli, C

Starter: LHP C.C. Sabathia (2-3)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (23-13)

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, DH
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Jose Bautista, LF
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Kevin Millar, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. John McDonald, 2B

Starter: LHP Brian Tallet (2-1)

~JB

Game 36: New York at Toronto pregame

For the past few years, Scott Downs has cited superstition when asked to do formal interviews with us scribes. He’d chat outside of that type of setting, always friendly, but said that talking to reporters was bad luck.

Now, if this was Downs’ only “superstition” it might have been a bit much. But he does have some other odd things he does. Racing Brian Tallet from the outfield to the clubhouse — we’re talking a dead sprint — after each BP. Placing his Red Bull can in the same spot in the dugout before every game, moving a “No Reporters Beyond This Point” sign down the third-base line every day. The list goes on.

Today, Downs agreed to be interviewed after news came out yesterday that he’d remain the closer after B.J. Ryan returned from the disabled list. Downs did throw us off right from the get go, though. When approached, he said “Ahhh, only if it’s NOT about closing.” Ummm, we proceeded with caution and turns out he was just kidding.

“In my eyes, he’s still our closer,” Downs said of Ryan. “I’m just filling in until he’s ready to go.”

As for finally being trusted with such an important job after a career that has seen him go from a starter, to a long reliever/spot starter, to one of the game’s top setup men, Downs said:

“It just goes with hard work and timing. It’s really timing. I don’t consider myself a closer. I dont think I ever will. I never would’ve looked at myself as a setup guy, either. I’m just kind of a guy that’s going to go out there and pitch when asked to pitch — that’s what I’m here to do and what I love to do.”

Ryan is scheduled to throw again tonight with Class A Dunedin and could be back before Monday. Ricky Romero is scheduled to start tonight for Double-A New Hampshire and could be back soon, though there is no timetable yet. Casey Janssen logged six innings last night in his fourth Minor League start, and no timetable for him, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back during the White Sox series, but no one has said that will be the case. He could very well have one more Minors outing to complete.

Today’s lineups:

Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (15-17)

1. Johnny Damon, DH
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixiera, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Melky Cabrera, LF
7. Brett Gardner, CF
8. Ramiro Pena, SS
9. Francisco Cervelli, C

Starter: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-1)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (23-12)

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 Scott Richmond (4-1)

~JB

Game 35: New York at Toronto pregame

There is obvious hype coming into tonight’s game. Not only is it the first matchup of the season between the Blue Jays and the Yankees, but the baseball gods thought it’d be great to have it be Doc Halladay against A.J. Burnett right out of the gates.

After three years as the No. 2 behind Halladay, Burnett opted out of his deal with Toronto and signed a 5-year, $82.5 million deal with the Bronx Bombers over the winter. That left Halladay and a rotation filled with question marks. Manager Cito Gaston downplayed the “importance” of tonight’s contest.

“I think they’re all big games,” Gaston said. “I think if you win one in May, you don’t have to win one in September. I take from Day 1 as being all big games. You play them and play each day and play as hard as you can to win them. All games are big games for me. The only difference is who’s pitching tonight.”

Fair enough.

As for some news today, Gaston and GM J.P. Ricciardi both said that B.J. Ryan will not be Toronto’s closer when he returns from the 15-day disabled list, and he could “conceivably” be activated before the end of this homestand, according to Ricciardi. Downs will remain the closer. Ryan’s role is uncertain.

“Ultimately, I thinnk B.J. will get back to being a closer at some point,” Ricciardi said. “But right now Downs has got the role and it’s tough to argue with the club playing so well. That’s the thing that you respect about B.J. is he’s a team guy and he understands that.”

Casey Janssen is starting for Double-A New Hampshire tonight and Ricky Romero will follow suit tomorrow. Both are set to rejoin the rotation some time in the near future. As for Jesse Litsch (right elbow), Ricciardi said that it’s now looking like he won’t be back until June: We might as well take our time and get him right.”

It helps that pitchers Scott Richmond, Brett Cecil and Brian Tallet have pitched so well with all the other arms out. That also says something about a staff that was riddled with question marks after Burnett’s departure. Burnett is 2-0 with a 5.26. Toronto’s four rookie arms (Richmond, Cecil, Romero and Robert Ray) have combined to go 7-2 with a 2.85 ERA this year.

Today’s lineups:




Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (15-16)

1. Brett Gardner, CF
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixiera, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Melky Cabrera, RF
8. Kevin Cash, C
9. Ramiro Pena, SS

Starter: RHP A.J. Burnett (2-0)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (22-12)

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. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (6-1)

~JB

Game 31: Toronto at Los Angeles pregame

Slow news day in the baseball world today, huh. I woke up with my blackberry buzzing and flashing, alerting me a hundred different ways that Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez was being suspended 50 games for testing positive for one of MLB’s banned substances.

Sheesh.

Before today’s game here at Angel Stadium, a few of us scribes chatted for a while with veteran Kevin Millar, who was a teammate of Ramirez’s in Boston. Millar said he was stunned to learn that Manny’s name became the latest to be thrown into the performance-enhancing drugs discussion.

“I was definitely shocked,” Millar said. “I think all of Los Angeles is pretty much in shock right now. I feel bad for the fans, man. That’s who I feel bad for, the people who had tickets to come see him play tonight or tomorrow. It’s kind of a bummer.”

“The guy is the best pure hitter we’ve ever seen — period,” he added later. “He’s just got the sweetest right-handed swing, I think, of our generation. Maybe the best the game’s ever seen from the right side.”

According to a statement from Ramirez, he went to a doctor and was prescribed something for personal reasons, and he didn’t know the substance he received was banned. Reports indicate that the substance was identified as the female fertility drug human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG.

Millar doesn’t see how there could be any excuses for what happened.

“Listen, the bottom line is it’s not rocket science,” Millar said. “We’re responsible for everything we take — period. It’s not about the ban. If there’s something that you’re taking, you ask the question. If you test positive, you’re responsible for it — that’s the bottom line.

“As Major League players, we know there’s a testing policy and if I want to go tomorrow to go to GNC and get something, I’m going to make sure it’s OK. I think that’s the normal thing. I think we’ve all got to be accountable for our own actions at some point.”

Millar then retrieved a plastic container from his locker that had seven days worth of pills inside.

“I take vitamins every day,” said Millar, opening the case and pouring some pills into his hand. “If one of these things tests positive, that’s my fault. That’s not the company’s fault.”

BLUE SKIES: While chatting with Aaron Hill on the field this afternoon, Scott Rolen walked over to us and pointed to the sky. “We’re going to try to get that moved before BP starts, OK?” Rolen said. He was pointing to the lone, sorry excuse for a cloud that was floating above the ballpark here in sunny Anaheim. That Rolen, always the joker.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (20-10)

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. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: RHP Robert Ray (0-0)

Angels.gifLOS ANGELES ANGELS (12-14)

1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Maicer Izturis, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Torii Hunter, CF
5. Kendry Morales, 1B
6. Mike Napoli, DH
7. Juan Rivera, LF
8. Howie Kendrick, 2B
9. Jeff Mathis, C

Starter: RHP Jered Weaver (2-1)

~JB

Game 30: Toronto at Los Angeles pregame


n2324216_53424673_4891032.jpg

Walking into the main gates here at Angel Stadium, it’s impossible to miss the memorial that fans have created for late pitcher Nick Adenhart, who died after a tragic car accident earlier this season. The picture I snapped with my phone doesn’t do it justice. Many of the hats that circle the memorial have notes written by fans — really touching.

As was the case when I blogged about Adenhart the day we learned that he passed, it’s hard to find anything else worthwhile to write about on here. Not much going on with the Jays today. Bryan Bullington and Brian Burres were outrighted to Triple-A, clearing two spots on the 40-man roster. Catcher Michael Barrett played catch from 40 feet for a few minutes, but is still a long way off from returning from the disabled list.

I did chat with rookie Robert Ray for a bit today, since he is making his second big league start tomorrow. He is happy the first one is out of the way, because the ol’ nerves definitely got to him for his Major League debut. I also asked him what his reaction was to GM J.P. Ricciardi bluntly saying Ray and Brett Cecil weren’t ready for the big leagues.

“Honestly, I just want to take care of my job,” Ray said. “I just want to go out and give us a chance to win and focus more on that. You know, maybe he’s right. Maybe we weren’t quite ready, or it wasn’t the perfect time to bring us up. The fact is we’re here now and we have to do what we can to help the team.”

With that, here are…

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (19-10)

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. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (5-1)


Angels.gifLOS ANGELES ANGELS (12-13)

1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Maicer Izturis, DH
3. Bobby Abreu, LF
4. Torii Hunter, CF
5. Kendry Morales, 1B
6. Mike Napoli, C
7. Gary Matthews Jr., RF
8. Howie Kendrick, 2B
9. Erick Aybar, SS

Starter: RHP Anthony Ortega (0-1)

~JB

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