Of Medals and Moving Day

MedalCredentials.jpgI thought it’d be fun to wear my marathon finisher’s medal today at work. Threw it around my neck in the work room for a little while, earning me a few eye rolls and groans.

Blue Jays PR man Jay Stenhouse joked that my medal was appropriately silver. You know… because I’m American… and the United States lost to Canada in the gold medal game in hockey… and, well, hardy har har.

It was all in good fun, though. That’s the type of day it was here in camp. Relaxed. It rained in the morning and it was moving day. That combination made for a brief workout before the players moved over to Dunedin Stadium.

The only real bit of news to come out of today was the fact that the Blue Jays posted the lineup for Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Tigers in Dunedin.

The first Jays lineup of 2010:

1. Jose Bautista, 3B
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. John Buck, C
7. Jeremy Reed, RF
8. Alex Gonzalez, SS
9. Travis Snider, LF

Pitching: Ricky Romero, Dana Eveland, Josh Roenicke, and also listed for possible appearances are Willie Collazo, Merkin Valdez, Zech Zinicola, Zach Stewart and Daniel Farquhar

Players making the trip on Thursday to Lakeland to play Detroit include: Marc Rzepczynski, Brett Cecil, Kyle Drabek, Zach Jackson, Chad Jenkins, Rommie Lewis, Luis Perez, Travis d’Arnaud, Matt Liuzza, J.P. Arencibia, Jose Molina, Kyle Phillips, David Cooper, Brian Dopirak, Brad Emaus, Mike McCoy, John McDonald, Jarrett Hoffpauir, Jesus Merchan, Randy Ruiz, Brett Wallace, Joey Gathright, Adam Loewen, Chris Lubanski, Travis Snider, Jeremy Reed, Jorge Padilla

WHERE’S EDWIN? Bautista has been working out at third base and is slotted into the lineup as the third baseman for Wednesday’s spring opener, but manager Cito Gaston said third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is fine. Encarnacion underwent surgery on his left wrist over the offseason and Gaston has said he did not plan on playing the third baseman until he was at 100 percent. Gaston said that Encarnacion will likely begin taking part in games on Friday.

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Q&A WITH JASON FRASOR


Frasor2.jpgA couple of us scribes chatted with Blue Jays closer candidate Jason Frasor for 15 minutes this morning. We talked about the changeup that he says “changed his life” — pun likely intended — and competing for the closer’s role, among other topics. Check bluejays.com for a feature on the pitcher.

Here’s some items left on the cutting room floor:

On his changeup: “It’s a lot easier to pitch with three pitches than two. It quickly became my best offspeed pitch — no doubt about it. My slider’s not really a strikeout pitch. It’s just a third  pitch almost. But the changeup, especially going through the AL East for a sixth year, it’s nice to have that third pitch against those lineups. I got a lot of outs with it — a lot of outs with it. It was my go-to pitch, man. Whenever I needed an out, if I was ahead in the count, here it comes.”

On the bullpen: “One through seven, I think this is the best bullpen we’re going to have since I’ve been here. We don’t have a healthy B.J. [Ryan] closing it out, but I think one through seven this is as solid as it’s been. Lefties. Righties. Gregg. Accardo. Come on. I mean, who do you want to put in? Camp? Carlson? Downs?”

More on the bullpen: “We don’t have that every fifth day off with Doc, that guaranteed eight innings or nine-inning complete game. But that’s OK. That’s OK. We’ve got a couple long guys down there and that’s fine, too. That’s fine, too. We’re not going to get worn out, even if the starting guys are going five or six, because our bullpen guys are so deep.”

On closing last year: “I think the key to last year was I got off to a good start and I was confident. It was like, ‘Oh, OK. This changeup works. Then I just kind of rolled that all the way through and it didn’t really matter what role I was in. Granted, the ninth inning has a different feel — there’s no doubt about that. Anybody who says the ninth inning doesn’t have a different feel, they must be numb or something.”

Asked if he always threw so hard: “I came up as a starter. I got sliced open, elbow surgery. After surgery, it was really the first time I ever worked out. I never really worked out. I just kind of showed up and threw. I always had a good arm, but once I got moved to the bullpen… I got traded to the Dodgers and I wasn’t 6-foot-4. I wasn’t good enough to start for them. Everybody was [tall]. That’s when I gained my velocity, when I started to workout and I when I got moved to the bullpen. The velocity came.

“I was 89-92 guy as a starter and then I moved to the bullpen and all of a sudden it’s 95-96. You blow it out for one inning. And with the Dodgers I felt like I was in trouble. I felt like I was going to be released, because I was just kind of a throw in with that trade. So I was told, ‘Air it out, let it rip.’ With them, if you hit the radar gun and you make it pop, they’ll keep you around. So, let it rip. I did and I’ve been able to maintain that velocity.”

On how long he’s lasted with the Jays: “Honestly, yeah, I am surprised. I don’t know what else to say. I’m just surprised that I’ve lasted. I started out good. The middle years, where did I go? You’d think somewhere in there they [would have got rid of me]. Coming off mediocre years, you never know.”

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WHO KNEW?

Blue Jays All-Time Games Finished

1. Tom Henke 386
2. Duane Ward 266
3. Mike Timlin 175
4. Billy Koch 166
5. Jason Frasor 136

Blue Jays All-Time Games Pitched

1. Duane Ward 452
2. Tome Henke 446
3. Dave Stieb 439
4. Paul Quantrill 386
5. Jim Clancy 352
6. Jason Frasor 342

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THIS JUST IN: Gaston revealed today that Lind was given the nickname “Sleepy” last season by former Jays shortstop Marco Scutaro. For those who have been around the team, it makes complete sense. Lind often looks tired and seeing him with the hood of a sweatshirt pulled up over his head is a common sight. Gaston joked that Lind is Sleepy “until he walks up to that plate.”

CLUBHOUSE CONFIDENTIAL: Quote of the Day from the Blue Jays’ daily schedule sheet for Tuesday was, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it,” from Thomas Jefferson.

For complete Blue Jays coverage this spring, make sure you’re reading bluejays.com and following me on Twitter at @MLBastian. You can also find spring photos on TwitPic.com.

~JB

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