Game 24 notes

Cecil7.jpgAt the tail end of Spring Training a year ago, with just a few days left until camp broke, left-hander Ricky Romero took the mound at Osceola County Stadium and won a job in the Blue Jays’ rotation with an impressive outing against the Astros in Kissimmee.

On Wednesday, it was hard not to recall that outing.

Lefty Brett Cecil took the hill at Bright House Field, knowing it was his last shot to convince Toronto hand him a starting job. Facing an All-Star studded Phillies lineup, all Cecil did was log six strong innings, allowing two solo homers and striking out four with no walks.

“He delivered,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “He went out and did a great job — just an absolutely great job.”

Will it ultimately win Cecil a spot in the rotation?

We might find out tomorrow. The Jays hope to be able to announce their rotation on Thursday (me too since I have an evening flight tomorrow!), because they fly to Houston on Friday morning and don’t want to bring anyone who will not be with the club on Opening Day.

Lefty Brian Tallet is scheduled to start on Thursday in the Florida spring finale, and his outing could determine if he winds up in the bullpen or rotation. It appears to be down to Cecil, Tallet and Dana Eveland for two spots. That is, unless Brandon Morrow’s right shoulder acts up between now and the season opener.

Toronto will break with 12 pitchers and the club has 14 left in camp right now: Shaun Marcum (lock), Ricky Romero (lock), Morrow, Cecil, Tallet (out of options), Eveland (out of options), Jason Frasor (lock), Scott Downs (lock), Kevin Gregg (lock), Shawn Camp (out of options), Merkin Valdez (out of options), Casey Janssen, Jeremy Accardo and Josh Roenicke.

I see two rotation scenarios:

1. The Jays go with Cecil and one of Tallet/Eveland in the rotation, and send one of Tallet/Eveland to the bullpen. Under this scenario, two relievers who need to be bumped to the Minors. I’d say Accardo and Roenicke might be the two, since they both have options left and the Jays want to protect their depth if possible.

2. The Jays go with Tallet and Eveland and option Cecil to Triple-A. That’d be a tough break for Cecil, who looks like he’s earned a job with his last few outings. Under this scenario, only one reliever would need to be sent back down to the Minors. Again, I see it coming down to Accardo of Roenicke. Janssen has options, but he’s had a fantastic spring.

THE REST OF THE ROSTER: One minor move on Wednesday brought the makeup of the non-pitching portion of the roster into focus. The Jays reassigned catcher Raul Chavez to Minor League camp, meaning Jose Molina will break as the backup catcher to starter John Buck.

Barring any late-spring additions via waivers or trades, that means the 13 position players will be as follows: 1B Lyle Overbay, 2B Aaron Hill, SS Alex Gonzalez, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, LF Travis Snider, CF Vernon Wells, RF Jose Bautista, DH Adam Lind, C John Buck, C Jose Molina, SS John McDonald, 1B/DH Randy Ruiz, UTIL Mike McCoy.

QUOTABLE: “I’m the best looking, that’s for sure.” –Jose Molina, asked which of the Molina brothers was the best catcher

HAPPY TO HELP: One thing that Molina said he prides himself on is having an open line of communication with his pitchers. He enjoyed working with younger pitchers and that’s one reason he chose to sign with the Blue Jays. Ricky Romero offered one example of a time Molina offered some advice already this spring.

“When we threw in Orlando,” Romero said, “he was coming up to me and we were talking about hitters and pitches and it’s always a good feeling when you have that luxury of having a guy like that. The thing he has said is, ‘You have such good stuff at times, it moves so much, that you just have to learn to throw it down the middle and kind of just let it work.’ I think where I get in trouble sometimes is when I try to be too fine with pitches. That’s what gets me deep in counts and stuff like that. It’s good to have him here to talk about things like that.”

BIRD FEED: Opening Day starter Shaun Marcum pitched in a Triple-A game on Wednesday, allowing three runs on five hits, including one homer, over a five-inning, 66-pitch outing. Marcum struck out five and walked none. Buck said Marcum looked “really sharp” in his final tuneup for Opening Day. The lone exception was an elevated pitch that was belted for the homer. … Gaston named Frasor the primary closer on Wednesday, after making it pretty clear last week that that was the way he was leaning. … Hill launched a two-run homer on the first pitch he received from former Jays ace Roy Halladay on Wednesday. … In the first inning against Halladay, the Jays scored four runs on five hits, including three for four for extra bases. “I think we’re all shocked it kind of happened, too,” said Lind, who doubled. … Downs, Frasor and Valdez each logged a shutout inning on Wednesday against the Phillies. Valdez has impressed the Jays this spring and appears to have quietly captured a bullpen job. Again, though, the Jays have not announced any relievers beyond Frasor, Gregg and Downs.

QUOTABLE II: “It was kind of weird actually toeing up against him. He’s thinner than I thought he was. It could be the red.” –Lind, on Halladay   

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: You may have noticed a slight change to the news content. We are introducing a new feature called “The Beat,” which will include small items that would have been shorter “notebook” news items in past formats. I’m not sure how this will affect how I use this blog, if at all. It’s a work in progress, but should make an even better source for news during the upcoming season.

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



  1. gsjays

    No question, Cecil went out and nailed it against a very tough lineup when he had to do it, gotta like that. My choice would be Cecil and Eveland starting with Tallet in the pen, sending Roenicke and Accardo to AAA. I still believe Tallet is more valuable in the pen than he is a starter.
    Janssen definitely deserves to be here, imo, he looks healthy and has had a great spring. Maybe we got the 2007 vintage Janssen back.

  2. sopinc2

    marcum romero morrow eveland cecil.

    congratulations AA

    you could not have dreamed of
    a better starting rotation leading
    the grand plan going forward

    blue jay fans i hope you all appreciate
    what we have in this starting rotation

    we’ve got game

  3. gsjays

    A very interesting and positive article by Dave Perkins in the Star.

    The most important man in the Blue Jays organization is in the house and saying all the right things. Even his being here is a first in any spring training.

    No, Alex Anthopoulos hasn’t made a trade. Not yet, anyway.

    The most important man in the organization isn’t a player, manager, Anthopoulos or even Paul Beeston. It is Nadir Mohamed and while it isn’t technically correct to call him the “owner” of the team, as president and CEO of Rogers Communications he essentially fills that role. Let’s call him owner with an asterisk.

    In sports, everything starts at the top and works its way down and Wednesday, Mohamed worked his way down from Toronto, along with VP Phil Lind. They arrived for the later innings of Toronto’s 5-2 win over the Phillies, but missed the fun of the Jays combing former hero Roy Halladay for four runs and five hits, many of them with rocket tails, in the first inning.

    Big deal, you say? The owner* shows up in spring training. So what?

    Well, the late Ted Rogers never did it once, not down here, although he attended player functions in Toronto. Rogers never did what Mohamed was scheduled to do Wednesday evening at a dinner for the players, coaches and front-office types, which is to speak and lay out the proprietor’s ideas going forward.

    The rest of this article can be read here:–perkins-jays-most-important-man-is-ceo-nadir-mohamed

  4. doc_h_32

    If cecil is optioned to AAA it wouldnt make sense to have ROenicke or Accardo stick, that would only leave us downs as a lefty in the pen. I would think Cecil is going to crack the rotation, if he doesn’t I would think they would call back up carlson or purcey. So Either way sending accardo and roenicke down.

  5. dt005

    “you could not have dreamed of
    a better starting rotation leading
    the grand plan going forward

    blue jay fans i hope you all appreciate
    what we have in this starting rotation”

    I hope this is sarcasm? I mean there are some nice pieces in there but I could definatly dream of a better rotation. There are definatly going to be growing pains with this young group.

  6. inception

    A starting rotation is just that — a start. A month from now, who knows who will be up and who will be down. The only thing I would like to see when forming the starting rotation is an emphasis on development. As GS points out, Tallet was at his best when he was a reliever. Moreover, he is not part of the future rotation. Therefore, allow Cecil and some of the other kids to assume those spots. To be honest with you, I would go to the Dome to see one of the kids start, but I would not pay a cent to see Tallet start. He is a good pitcher, but I am interested in seeing the future potential of this team. Not a 4-3 win over Kansas City on a Tuesday evening. Let’s hope that any deserving kid gets his chance to play this year, so that next year we can begin to start taking forward strides.


    Right from the horse’s mouth! I hope when the time is right, The Jays can keep some of their guys for a career, like New York has with Jeter, Posada, Petit, etc. IMHO, it’s a lot easier to stay competetive if you don’t have to change everybody every 6 years.


    Right from the horse’s mouth! I hope when the time is right, The Jays can keep some of their guys for a career, like New York has with Jeter, Posada, Petit, etc. IMHO, it’s a lot easier to stay competetive if you don’t have to change everybody every 6 years.

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