This is what it looked like here at Dunedin Stadium at about 8:45 am. For a little while, from about 11:30 to 12:30, the pounding rain subsided and it actually felt like there might be some baseball played here today.
Then it poured some more.
Finally, the Blue Jays and Astros caved and canceled today’s tilt, making that seven washouts today around Florida. Brian Tallet was scheduled to pitch for the Blue Jays, but he instead did a three-inning simulated game indoors. There will be another sim game for some relievers on Saturday in Dunedin as well.
Not much in the way of news today. Kyle Drabek and David Cooper were reassigned to Minor League camp and Casey Fien and Brad Mills were optioned to Triple-A. Adam Lind WAS scheduled to start in left field, but then he wasn’t, and then the game was scrapped altogether.
With left field in mind, we did ask manager Cito Gaston some about Snider and the backup bench jobs that are up in the air. Joey Gathright, Jeremy Reed and Mike McCoy are all leading the pack for bench roles, but so much depends on if Snider breaks camp with the big club.
If Snider is at Triple-A to open the year, that means two of Gathright, Reed and McCoy could make the Jays. If Snider is Toronto’s left fielder, then only one of that trio is likely to make the cut. There are four bench jobs, with one going to John McDonald and another to the backup catcher (Raul Chavez or Jose Molina).
That would leave two vacancies for Gathright, Reed, McCoy, Randy Ruiz and Brian Dopirak to fight over, and any others who might be quietly in the mix. It’s been made pretty clear that Ruiz and Dopirak are basically competing against each other within the bench race.
As for Snider?
“Snider’s got a chance to make this club,” Gaston said. “And, as of lately, his at-bats have gotten better. We want him to
make this club, because you’ve got to go and look at the long-term future of this club. Is it more with
Gathright, or is it more with Snider? You want Snider to make this club, but you want him to make it in
the right way. We’re not just going to give it to him.
“Every day that he improves is just going to be a plus for
him and for us and the organization, because you’ve got Snider and you’ve got Lind and [Aaron] Hill and Vernon [Wells], and
then you’ve got JP [Arencibia] coming, too. You’re starting to have some pretty good bats coming.”
BIRD FEED: 3B Edwin Encarnacion said his left wrist is feeling better and he expects to be worked into games soon. Gaston said there is still no timetable for his return. … RHP Dustin McGowan will throw a sim game on Sunday. … Since they didn’t pitch on Friday, Jeremy Accardo, Casey Janssen, Zach Jackson, Zech Zinicola and Merkin Valdez will work in a sim game at Dunedin Stadium on Saturday. … LHP Ricky Romero is scheduled to start on the road against the Braves on Saturday and is down to log four innings. Other pitchers listed on the trip: Dana Eveland, Sean Henn, Ray Gonzalez, Rommie Lewis, Willie Collazo. Notable position players going to Disney World for the game: Arencibia, Chavez, Molina, Dopirak, McCoy, Ruiz, Brett Wallace, Gathright, Reed, Snider.
Opening Day Predictions: Part 3
I am off on Saturday, so this week’s predictions come a day early. Every weekend from now until the end of camp, I plan on including my current predictions for the Opening Day roster. After eight games, this is who I believe will be among the 25 players headed north:
PITCHERS — Starters: Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero Brandon Morrow, Brian Tallet, Marc Rzepczynski. Relievers: Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Shawn Camp, Jesse Carlson, Casey Janssen, Jeremy Accardo
POS. PLAYERS: John Buck, Jose Molina, Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill, Alex Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Travis Snider, Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista, John McDonald, Mike McCoy, Randy Ruiz.
CHANGES: Jeremy Reed removed. Joey Gathright removed Travis Snider added. Mike McCoy added.
REASONING: Gaston’s comments today about Snider put him firmly back on the radar and are encouraging in the “Let the kids play” sense. If this is about building or rebuilding or whatever you want to call it, why not let Snider head north? I added McCoy because he has been impressing in a big way. He brings speed like Gathright, but he can also man at least six spots (three infield, three outfield), where Gathright is limited to the outfield. Reed has performed well so far, but I don’t see him on the team if Snider makes the cut.