Game 66: Toronto at Philadelphia pregame

usestairsincaseofemergency.jpgUs Blue Jays scribes took a few minutes this afternoon to sit down with Matt Stairs here at Citizens Banks Park. This after the first swing I saw him take in the cage resulted in a deep, towering home run to right field.

Stairs, 41, is in the last year of the two year contract he originally signed with the Blue Jays and was asked what the future holds. It’s no secret he wants to try his hand at managing, but he isn’t ruling out continuing on as a pinch hitter, or maybe as a designated hitter somewhere.

“I still want to play. I still feel healthy,” said Stairs, who was traded to Philadelphia last August. “Am I going to play? Hard to say. It really depends on how the year goes. Everybody knows I want to get into managing, so we’ll see what happens.”

Asked about that little home run he hit in the playoffs with the Phillies last season, a small smile crept across Stairs’ face. You remember the one?

October 13. Dodger Stadium. Game tied, 5-5 in the eighth inning with L.A. closer Jonathan Broxton on the hill. Stairs crushed a pitch, sending it deep into the right-field stands to send the Phils to an NLCS win and one step closer to the World Series.

Where does that moment rank for Stairs?

“That was No. 1,” Stairs said. “I’ve hit a lot of home runs, but that was way up there. It was funny. I was talking to young [John] Mayberry Jr. — he came up and hit his first home run in Yankee Stadium. I asked him ‘Could you feel your legs?’ and he said no and I said, ‘Me neither.’

“I remember giving a high-five at first and a high-five at third and all I was thinking about was ‘Don’t trip,’” he said with a laugh. “It was one swing of the bat that changes your life and puts you on the map for a long, long time to come.”

Literally. Stairs’ name will be on a street sign in his hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick when he does decide to hang up the spikes.

“They’re naming a street after me,” he said. “But we’ll put that on hold a little while. They already have a sign in the ballpark there, talking about the home run. When I retire, I’ll do it in Fredericton and we can do the street thing at the same time.”

DOC WATCH: Roy Halladay (right groin) played catch again this afternoon and is scheduled to throw in a bullpen session on Wednesday. Manager Cito Gaston said the club still isn’t ruling him out as a possibility for Saturday’s start in Washington D.C. If you ask me, I think that’s doubtful.

INTERESTING: In the middle of our pregame sit-down with Gaston, he was pulled into the clubhouse by head trainer George Poulis. Gaston didn’t say what the meeting was for after he returned to the dugout. If I hear anything, I’ll let you know.

COMING SOON: I chatted with Blue Jays hitting coach Gene Tenace for a while today about the ongoing struggles of Vernon Wells. Check bluejays.com later for what Geno had to say about the topic.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (34-31)
tie-Third place AL East, 5.0 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Vernon Wells, CF
4. Scott Rolen, 3B
5. Adam Lind, LF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Kevin Millar, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Ricky Romero, P

Starter: LHP Romero (3-3, 3.71)


phillies.gifPHILADELPHIA (36-25)
First place NL East, 0.0 GB

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Chase Utley, 2B
3. Jayson Werth, RF
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Raul Ibanez, LF
6. Shane Victorino, CF
7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Cole Hamels, P

Starter: LHP Hamels (4-2, 4.62)

Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @MLBastian

~JB

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6 Comments

With the way Overbay has been hitting as of late and the struggles Millar has been having I’m surprised Millar is getting the start tonight even if a tough lefty in Hamels is starting. It does leave a LH bat for a pinch hitter later in the game but we all know Cito doesn’t like his guys to lose confidence by being replaced. BaH!

Oh and Rolen should be hitting third and Wells in 5th behind Lind.

Enigma ,
If it makes you feel better , I don’t do twitter either . I haven’t had time to even consider it . Here’s hoping the Jays can get their bats going . Romero has been pitching very well

With the bases loaded and less than two outs, how can Alex Rios take a called third strike? I am dumbfounded by the performance of him and Wells this year. I can’t even watch when they are up with runners on base. Not a very good return on investment, heh?

What a terrible baserunning mistake last night by Rios. He’s lucky they won. That said really entertaining game.

Jordan, thanks for bringing the other side of the story to the table about the whole Alex Rios youtube situation. Usu

I’m predicting a rough night tonight for Richmond. Philly has some power hitting lefties in the lineup and Scott doesn’t generally do well against lefthanded bats.

Finally, I hope that last night is the night that gets Wells going. I know he’s usually a slow starter but it’s getting ridiculous.

George must’ve been telling Gaston about Janssen’s shoulder inflammation.

so now that Halladay and Downs are on the D.L. i’d like to see Cecil and Accardo come up. Tough news for the Jays though. Over the last few seasons this team has had more than its fair share of injury problems and it’s been a real shame.

Maybe Fabio Castro gets a shot ?

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