August 2009

Game 114: Toronto at Tampa Bay

millar.jpgThere is a new “No. 15″ in town. It’s only been a few days since Alex Rios was sent to the White Sox on a waiver claim, but veteran Kevin Millar didn’t want to waste any time in grabbing his former digits.

“It’s gonna save my career,” said Millar, showing off his new jersey on Friday at The Trop. “Thirty was brutal.”

Asked if he talked to Rios about a possible switch during the spring, Millar replied: “Nah, I figured I was just the old guy coming in on a minor league contract.”

Millar said he’s been “15” for the most part since the ninth grade. He pulled out his first baseman’s glove and showed us the “ONEFIVE” stitched into the side and then pulled out a bat that still had “15” written on the handle.

One reporter kiddingly asked if Rios left any hits behind with his number. Millar smiled wide and kept to his jokester ways, responding, “He left ‘em all. That’s why he’s in Chicago now.” Here’s hoping donning “15” can give Millar a boost. With “30” on his back, he’s hit ..236 with six homers and 27 RBIs through 59 games for the Jays.

AROUND THE BIRDCAGE: LHP Brett Cecil (left knee) threw in a normal bullpen session on Friday and has been wearing a brace during workouts. He’s scheduled to throw another bullpen on Wednesday and is on pace to make his next start as planned on Aug. 20. … The Jays promoted RHP Casey Janssen from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill the spot vacated when RHP Jeremy Accardo was optioned to Vegas on Wednesday. … Ran into RHP Jesse Litsch, who had Tommy John earlier this season. He no longer was wearing the brace on his arm. “I’m ahead of schedule,” he said with a shrug and a smile, “whatever that means two months into this thing. I’m day-to-day.” More like month-to-month. … C Rod Barajas has been in a little bit of an offensive funk of late. Manager Cito Gaston said it looks to him like Barajas has ben standing a little more upright in his stance. “But maybe he’s not — that’s just what I see,” Gaston said. … Former Jays C Gregg Zaun is now behind the plate for the Rays. He was traded during Toronto’s last Flashback Friday in Toronto, so Zaunie didn’t get to wave to his old home fans. Ah, well. But here’s a feature by Marc Topkin of the St. Pete Times talking about how Zaun want to be the Julio Franco of his position.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (54-59)
Fourth place AL East, 17.0 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, LF
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Randy Ruiz, DH
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Joe Inglett, RF

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (12-5, 2.73)


Thumbnail image for Rays.jpgTAMPA BAY RAYS (61-43)
Third place AL East, 10.5 GB

1. Jason Bartlett, SS
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
5. Carlos Pena, 1B
6. Pat Burrell, DH
7. Gabe Gross, RF
8. Gregg Zaun, C
9. B.J. Upton, CF

Starter: RHP James Shields (7-8, 3.79)

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

~JB

Game 113: Toronto at New York

overbay.jpgHow about this Lyle Overbay fellow? Seems like Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston should’ve penciled the first baseman in as the cleanup hitter a while ago. Since Toronto traded away Scott Rolen, Overbay has been on a nice offensive run as the new No. 4 man.

In eight games in Rolen’s old spot in the order, Overbay has hit .318 (8-for-21) with two homers, five RBIs and seven runs. Over his last 11 games, Overbay has hit .344 with three homers, six RBIs, 10 runs and 10 walks. Going back even more, he’s hit .317 across his last 22 games, raising his average to .264 from .249.

“Any time he stays pretty aggressive, he’s a pretty good hitter,” Gaston said. “When he starts not being aggressive, he takes a lot of fastballs for strikes and swings at bad balls to punch out on. When he’s aggressive, he’s a better hitter. It’s just sometimes he doesn’t stay that way for a long time. It goes and comes with him.”

CITO ON HIS FUTURE: Gaston said today that he’s leaning toward not managing beyond next season, which is the final year of his contract with the Blue Jays. “I’m not even looking past 2010,” he said. “We’ll see what happens at the end of next year. If they offer me or they don’t offer me, either way it’s OK. I’ll make my decision, if I want to come back or if they want me back, or I say, ‘No, I want to do something else.’ A good job around is being an advisor, too. I could play a little more golf that way.”

LIND TO PLAY FIRST? “That’s not true,” Gaston said. There were rumors that the Blue Jays were going to send Adam Lind to instructional league to work on playing first base. It was being discussed internally, but now — with Alex Rios gone and Travis Snider in the plans as the right fielder — it has become a moot issue. With Rios off the books, Lyle Overbay is likely to remain the first baseman in 2010, the final year of his contract.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (54-58)
Fourth place AL East, 15.5 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, LF
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Randy Ruiz, DH
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Raul Chavez, C
9. Joe Inglett, RF

Starter: LHP Ricky Romero (10-5, 3.66)

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (70-43)
First place AL East, — GB

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Hideki Matsui, DH
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jorge Posada, C
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Nick Swisher, 1B
8. Eric Hinske, RF
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

Starter: RHP A.J. Burnett (10-5, 3.67)

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

~JB

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Game 112: Toronto at New York

Ruiz.jpgThere’s a new big man in the Blue Jays’ clubhouse. Give a well-deserved welcome to Randy Ruiz, who has been mashing all season long with Triple-A Las Vegas and is today’s DH in the No. 6 spot for Toronto.

Ruiz — a 31-year-old career Minor Leaguer — definitely earned this promotion, which fills the spot that opened when the Jays sent Alex Rios to the White Sox on Monday. In 114 games with Vegas, Ruiz hit .320 with 25 homers and 106 RBIs.

As deserving as Ruiz is of this call-up, though, there’s still plenty of reason to wonder why Travis Snider wasn’t the one summoned. All Snider has done at Triple-A is hit 314 with a .654 slugging, belting 13 homers with 37 RBIs in 43 games.

The Blue Jays won’t come out and say it, but Snider is most likely being held in the Minors due to his service time. If Toronto — a team in fourth place and without a shot at the playoffs — were to call up Snider before around August 20, the club would risk having him becoming a Super Two player.

In short, this means that Snider would have a shot at earning an extra arbitration year, thus costing the Blue Jays more money in the long term. As a player, this is a frustrating way be kept in the Minors, knowing you’re playing well enough to be called up. As an organization not headed for the playoffs, it only makes sense.

“He’ll be up here some time in the near future,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said on Monday.

In the meantime, it’s hard not to root for a guy like Ruiz. Labeled as a career Minor Leaguer, and a good one at that, he has a chance to show the Blue Jays something over the rest of the season. Over his 11-year professional career, Ruiz has been cut 12 times in stints with nine different organizations before joining the Jays.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (54-57)
Fourth place AL East, 14.5 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, LF
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Randy Ruiz, DH
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Joe Inglett, RF

Starter: RHP Scott Richmond (6-6, 3.97)

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (69-43)
First place AL East, — GB

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Eric Hinske, RF
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

Starter: RHP Joba Chamberlain (8-2, 3.73)

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

~JB

Game 111: Toronto at New York

 Sorry for the delayed lineups, but Blue Jays announced shortly before the game that Alex Rios has been sent to the White Sox, who claimed him off waivers on Friday and will now assume his entire contract.

Just back from talking with GM J.P. Ricciardi and speaking briefly with Rios before he left the ballpark. More in a while…

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (53-57)
Fourth place AL East, 15.5 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Jose Bautista, RF
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Joe Inglett, LF

Starter: LHP Marc Rzepczynski (1-3, 3.74)


Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (69-42)
First place AL East, — GB

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jorge Posada, DH
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., LF
8. Melky Cabrera, CF
9. Jose Molina, C

Starter: RHP Sergio Mitre (1-0, 7.50)

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

~JB

Game 110: Baltimore at Toronto

halladay2.jpgThe good doctor needs some help. Ever since coming back from that pesky groin injury, Roy Halladay has not had much love from his offense. He takes the mound today against the O’s looking for win No. 12, but he can’t do it alone.

Consider…

Over Doc’s last seven starts, the man has logged 54 innings with two complete games and three outings in which he punched in for nine frames. He has compiled 48 strikeouts against eight walks, including no free passes issued to the last 73 batters he has faced.

Along the way, Halladay has thrown 68 percent of his pitches for strikes, fashioned a 1.31 grounder-to-flyball ratio and posted a 3.17 ERA (bloated by the fact that 7 ER came between innings 7-9 while Halladay tried to buy more time for his lineup to go to work).

For all of his work, Halladay has posted a 1-4 record over the last seven starts and the Jays have gone 1-6 in that span. Toronto has given Doc just 18 runs of support (2.6 per game) over that period with no more than three runs in each his last five trips up the hill.

It’s been very reminiscent of last season, when the Blue Jays gave Halladay just 23 runs to work with across his 11 losses. Today, the Orioles send rookie Brian Matusz (fourth overall pick in the 2008 Draft) to the mound as Doc’s opponent. Halladay has been great in his career against the O’s, going 19-4 with a 2.92 ERA, but he needs some assistance.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for Orioles.gifBALTIMORE ORIOLES (46-64)
Fifth place AL East, 22.0 GB

1. Felix Pie, LF
2. Cesar Izturis, SS
3. Adam Jones, CF
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Aubrey Huff, 1B
6. Melvin Mora, 3B
7. Luke Scott, DH
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. Robert Andino, 2B

Starter: LHP Brian Matusz (1-0, 1.80)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (52-57)
Fourth place AL East, 15.5 GB

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

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (11-5, 2.75)

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

~JB

Game 109: Baltimore at Toronto

rios.jpgAlex Rios is no stranger to trade rumors. Two years ago, the Blue Jays nearly pulled off a deal that would’ve sent him to the Giants for Tim Lincecum. Rios’ name again popped up throughout last year.

This week, Rios’ name surfaced in a report that indicated he was claimed off waivers — likely by the Chicago White Sox — a situation that could mean a trade is in the works. Sitting at his locker on Saturday morning, Rios admitted that it can get tiresome answering questions so often about rumors.

“At some point, it gets old,” Rios said. “But, it’s baseball, man. There’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to not listen to [the rumors] and keep going with what you’re doing.”

The reality of the current situation is that being claimed off waivers this time of year is a routine part of the game — something that happens every year with many players. The difference is not all the names are leaked. When a player is claimed, the team that exposed him to waivers can A) Let him go for nothing, B) Work out a trade with the claiming club, or C) Pull him off waivers.

It’s a way for teams to gauge interest in their players. For contending clubs, sometimes this will lead to an addition that will be eligible for a postseason roster. Trades need to be completed before Sept. 1 for players to be able to take part in the playoffs. Rios said he understood that every team exposes much of its roster to waivers this month.

“I’ve heard that most of the players go through waivers after the deadline is over,” said Rios, referring to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. “I guess it’s a normal process that most people go through.”

Rios said Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who downplayed the reports on Friday, had not talked to him about the rumors. If Toronto wanted to shed salary, this would be an easy way to go about it, considering  Rios is owed just shy of $61 million through 2014. It’s unlikely the Jays would let Rios go for nothing, though. Toronto has until Tuesday to make a decision.

“I can’t do anything,” Rios said. “If I get traded, I get traded. I’m going to have to go wherever I get traded to, but I don’t know. At this point, I’m thinking that I’m staying here. That’s the way I have to think about it.”

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for Orioles.gifBALTIMORE ORIOLES (46-63)
Fifth place AL East, 21.0 GB

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Adam Jones, CF
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
5. Nolan Reimold, LF
6. Melvin Mora, 3B
7. Luke Scott, DH
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Starter: RHP Chris Tillman (0-0, 6.75)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (51-57)
Fourth place AL East, 15.5 GB

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

Starter: LHP Brett Cecil (5-1, 4.36)

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

~JB

Game 108: Baltimore at Toronto

B2BReunion.jpgPretty busy down on the field today at Rogers Centr….err, let’s go with SkyDome today for old time’s sake. Today was the ultimate Flashback Friday for the Blue Jays: the Back2Back Reunion for the ’92-93 World Series teams.

An odd time to be having it, sure. But, as Paul Molitor put it:

“It’s long overdue,” Molitor said. “It’s not like it’s the 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th year. No magical number, but it just happened. The response and the participation of the players and everyone making the effort to come back, you can see we were kind of hungry to do something like this.”

The event was the brainchild of Jays hero Joe Carter, who had been wanting to organize such a gathering for a while now. Quite the collection of Toronto greats today, too.

A few of former players in attendance: Robbie Alomar, Dave Winfield, Tony Fernandez, John Olerud, David Cone, Pat Hentgen, Dave Stewart, Dave Stieb, Tom Henke, Jack Morris, Kelly Gruber, Todd Stottlemyre, Juan Guzman, Al Leiter, Devon White, among many other players, coaches and staff.

Alomar was asked what he thinks about being considered the greatest Blue Jay of them all.

“Oh, wow,” he said. “I take it as a compliment. When I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a great ballplayer and I worked hard at playing the game of baseball. When I came here, I gave my best and I hope people appreciated the way I played the game. That’s why maybe they say those kind of things.”

The Jays held a nice pregame ceremony, with the two trophies on a table behind the mound and all the old-timers walking in from behind the center field wall and being introduced one by one. Prior to the game, Carter said he wasn’t thinking about his ’93 Series-clinching homer when he first walked onto the field.

Carter wanted to show his son where he crushed a ball once to the 500 level — not far from where his name resides on the Level of Excellence.

“The first place I looked was not right behind the field,” Carter said with a laugh. “I looked up at the fifth deck, because I was trying to impress my son and say, ‘Yeah, that’s where I hit it — the fifth deck.’ That’s the first place I looked. I didn’t even think about the home run that won the World Series. I was more proud of my name being up there and that homer I hit to the fifth deck.

“You know, ’92-93, very great years. ’93 was very sweet, but I don’t think anything can replace ’92. Catching the ball for the last out and bringing a championship to an organization that had tried for such a long time. … Not only was it a first for us. It was a first for Canada.”

Alomar, who was invited to join the Jays this past spring as a guest coach but had to back out for personal reasons, expressed an interest in joining the Jays’ organization in some capacity. He said coaching might not be for him, but that he might like working with Minor Leaguers in a development role.

“Baseball has always been in my blood and this is what I love to do,” Alomar said. “To be good in the big leagues, you have to start from the bottom. If you can get a good Minor League system, you’re going to get a chance to go up here in the big leagues and do a good job.

“This is where I belong. This is where I made my mark and this is where I love to be.”

ABOUT THAT CURRENT JAYS TEAM: A report on ESPN.com indicated that Jays right fielder Alex Rios has been claimed off waivers by an unidentified team. Now, don’t get overly worked up over this. Exposing players to waivers is common this month and often a name will be leaked and the story becomes bigger than it might actually be.

That being said, the Blue Jays have until Tuesday to either pull Rios back, trade him to the claiming team or let the claiming team have him for nothing, assuming Rios’ contract in the process. Rios has underperformed and this would be a way for Toronto to shed payroll. This does not mean Rios is definitely being moved.

Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi had this to say: “It’s the time of year where everybody gets put through waivers on every team. For us to comment on that, I don’t think is a good thing. We’re not going to comment on the waiver wire. It’s unfortunate that someone puts anything out there that’s supposed to be confidential. In this case, all I’ll tell you is everybody gets put through waivers. It’s a normal process. Every team does it, but we’re not going to comment on who was claimed or who wasn’t claimed.” 

Today’s lineups:


Thumbnail image for Orioles.gifBALTIMORE ORIOLES (45-63)
Fifth place AL East, 21.0 GB

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Adam Jones, CF
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Aubrey Huff, DH
5. Nolan Reimold, LF
6. Melvin Mora, 3B
7. Ty Wigginton, 1B
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Starter: RHP Jason Berken (1-9)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (51-56)
Fourth place AL East, 14.5 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Joe Inglett, LF

Starter: LHP Ricky Romero (10-4, 3.53)

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

~JB

Game 107: New York at Toronto

Ryan2.jpgHis image still graces a large panel of windows on the south side of Rogers Centre. And, why not? The Blue Jays are still on the hook to pay the rest of the roughly $15 million that B.J. Ryan is owed through next season.

Since the spring, Ryan struggled with his pitch velocity and his pitch command. He dropped out of the World Baseball Classic over concerns with his mechanics. He lost his closer’s role due to his persistent problems.

At the beginning of July, Ryan was issuing walks at an increasingly alarming rate and he told the media he felt his sporadic use played a role in his inconsistent results. A few days later, the Blue Jays released Ryan.

All this after the man saved 38 games and had a 1.37 ERA just three years earlier.

Ryan quickly found a job with the Cubs, who took him on with a Minor League contract hoping to revive his career and have a veteran left-handed option in the process. In five games with Triple-A Iowa, Ryan walked five batters in 5 2/3 innings.

On Wednesday, Chicago released Ryan. The reason?

RyanReleased.jpg

FLAT-LINING? After the Blue Jays’ 5-3 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday, Roy Halladay was asked what the team’s goal should be over the final two months. His response: “Win. That’s the reason you’re here. I don’t think at any point you can pack it in and work on things. You have to come out every day to try and win. That’s what it comes down to.”

On Wednesday, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston was subsequently asked if he feels his team may be going a little flat, considering its place in the standings. Gaston didn’t believe that to be the case.

“I dont think so,” Gaston said. “I think last night, I think the guys put up a pretty good battle in the end, trying to come back and tie the ballgame or win the ballgame for Doc. So, I don’t feel that. If I do, I think I’d have to have a couple meetings…”

Gaston then smiled and turned to radio man Jerry Howarth, who was seated next to him on the bench in the dugout.

“…and invite Jerry in and throw him around the room a little bit,” Gaston joked. “Show them what I’d do to them.”

Gaston did say that the very end of the season can be tough for players who are not on contending teams.

“I think the toughest time is the last week of the season for guys, if you’re not in the running. Even if you’re trying to stay out of last place, a lot of guys are starting to think about going home — no matter what you do or try to say.”

ON MITRE: I’m not to the stage of my baseball writing career where I can say, “Way back when…” too often. Today, though, seeing Sergio Mitre starting for the Yankees brings back some memories of my days with the Lansing State Journal. I covered the Class A Lansing Lugnuts in ’04 (Cubs) and ’05 (Jays). In the spring of 2004, I convinced the paper to get me credentials to the Cubs spring training in order to write some features on a few former Lugnut players. Mitre was one player I wrote about — one of the first baseball stories of my career. Click here to read the article (or, to see the web site I designed and created while at Michigan State to serve as my active resume. Man, I should probably update that site!).

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (64-42)
First place AL East, — GB

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, DH
5. Nick Swisher, RF
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Melky Cabrera, CF
8. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
9. Jose Molina, C

Starter: RHP Sergio Mitre (1-0, 7.90)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (51-55)
Fourth place AL East, 13.0 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Joe Inglett, LF

Starter: LHP Marc Rzepczynski (1-2, 3.25)

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

~JB

Game 106: New York at Toronto

Today’s lineups:


Thumbnail image for Yankees.jpgNEW YORK YANKEES (63-42)
First place AL East, — GB

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Melky Cabrera, CF
9. Eric Hinske, RF

Starter: LHP Andy Pettitte (8-6, 4.51)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (51-54)
Fourth place AL East, 12.0 GB

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

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (11-4, 2.68)

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

~JB

Game 105: Toronto at Oakland



 

edwin.jpgIt was obvious that the Blue Jays were thrilled with the two pitchers they received in the trade that sent Scott Rolen to the Reds. It’s been hard to find anyone that disagrees that Toronto got two talented arms in Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart.

As for that other piece to the deal? Well, Edwin Encarnacion doesn’t come with glowing reviews. He has shown some power potential (26 homers in ’08), but his defense needs some work, something bench coach Brian Butterfield will tackle for the Jays.

The trade was more about the arms than about acquiring Encarnacion. That being said, there’s always the chance that a change of scenery could do the third baseman some good. When Encarnacion found out that he had been dealt to Toronto, he said it hardly came as a shock.

“I was not surprised,” Encarnacion said. “They’ve been talking about a trade and I’m ready. I know how this game is and I was ready. I was waiting for it and I figured they were going to make a trade. Now, I’m happy I’m here with my new team, Toronto, and I’m going to enjoy it.”

Encarnacion’s numbers this season leave something to be desired: .209 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 43 games. Consider, though, that he missed May and June with a chipped bone in his left wrist. In July, he hit .276 with four homers and 10 RBIs over 24 games.

Encarnacion, who spent the past five seasons with the Reds, said he feels like he’s back at 100 percent and he agreed that a new team might be just what he needed. He noted that he already knew Jose Bautista, Marco Scutaro and Alex Rios, as well as a few other Jays, so getting used to his new surroundings shouldn’t be too difficult.

“I’m going to miss those other guys,” he said. “But we’re going to have fun here.”

DOWNS TO DL: The Blue Jays placed closer Scott Downs on the 15-day DL with the same left big toe injury that shelved him for 19 games between June and July. As for when Downs will be back? “It won’t be any time soon,” said manager Cito Gaston. Jason Frasor steps back into the ninth-inning role and Jeremy Accardo is recalled from Vegas — not that he ever made it to Nevada after being optioned just two days ago.

SCOOT RESTING: Gaston kept shortstop Marco Scutaro on the bench on Sunday in order to allow the infielder to rest a sore right heel that’s been bothering him for a while. With an off-day on Monday, Gaston felt it was a good time to give Scutaro some time to recover. This might explain why Scutaro was pulled early in Friday’s game.

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (50-54)
Fourth place AL East, 12.0 GB

1. Jose Bautista, LF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. John McDonald, SS

Starter: LHP Rickey Romero (9-4, 3.59)

Thumbnail image for athletics.gifOAKLAND ATHLETICS (44-59)
Fourth place AL West, 18.5 GB

1. Adam Kennedy, 3B
2. Rajai Davis, CF
3. Kurt Suzuki, C
4. Scott Hairston, LF
5. Jack Cust, RF
6. Tommy Everidge, DH
7. Bobby Crosby, 1B
8. Mark Ellis, 2B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Starter: RHP Vin Mazzaro (2-7, 5.16)

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

~JB

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