Blasted Nine Inch Nails’ “With Teeth” through the Jeep on the hour-or-so drive here to sunny Sarasota this morning. Nothing like coffee and Reznor to wake you up. Entering Ed Smith Stadium, the security guard kept calling me “Bubba” while checking my bag. Cracked me up.
Just got back to the pressbox a little while ago after our daily pregame chat with Cito. Not a whole heckuva lot going on today, but Gaston did say that Vernon Wells — out since Feb. 23 with a left hamstring strain — will probably begin playing in games in another 10 days or so.
Wells took part in some running drills prior to Toronto’s game against the Reds last night in Dunedin and reported no soreness. Cito also said today that Jason “King of Spring” Lane could head north with the club if Wells isn’t ready by Opening Day. That’s been the assumption anyway with how Lane has been hitting of late, and since Cito has been running him out to center regularly.
Hey, and remember that A.J. Burnett fellow? The guy that opted out of his contract with Toronto and signed a five-year deal with the New York Yankees? Ringing any bells? Yeah, well, turns out he’s scheduled to start against the Blue Jays tomorrow in Tampa. Should be fun.
“It’ll be nice to see him,” Gaston said. “I certainly got along with A.J. really well and I appreciate the way he performed last year for this club after I came here. You know what? He’s a good guy for me and I wish him all the best. But, when we play him, I hope we beat him.”
UPDATE: Funny story. We were misinformed about Burnett’s start. He’s going today for the Yankees — NOT tomorrow. Soooo, there goes that. Andy Pettitte is starting tomorrow against the Jays.
Don’t forget, you can follow my in-game updates at www.twitter.com/mlbastian
Joe Inglett, 2B
Buck Coats, CF
Adam Lind, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Scott Rolen, 3B
Travis Snider, RF
Michael Barrett, C
J.P. Arencibia, DH
John McDonald, SS
David Purcey, P
Brett Cecil, P
Jacque Jones, LF
Alex Gonzalez, DH
Chris Dickerson, CF
Brandon Phillips, 2B
Jonny Gomes, 1B
Laynce Nix, RF
Jeff Keppinger, 3B
Humberto Cota, C
Paul Janish, SS
Micah Owings, P
That, in a sense, sums up Day 1 at Spring Training for us scribes. Unless you’re Robby MacLeod of the Globe and you’re feeling extra motivated to run around and do interviews, the first day at camp is basically chilling out, chatting with players and coaches and just enjoying the start of another season.
I’m sure Yankees camp is a little different. But, for the most part, the Bobby Mattick is a relaxed atmosphere with a handful of reporters hanging out between the clubhouse and the practice fields. For the beginning of camp, we’ve got myself, MacLeod, Griff from the Star, Sandler from the Post and Elliott from the Sun.
Today wasn’t mandatory for any players to be in camp and tomorrow isn’t either. Tomorrow is the “reporting” date, which means pitchers and catchers just have to be in the area. Physicals are on Sunday and the first official workout will be held on Monday. Today, there were some bullpens thrown, some hitters taking BP and some other light drills going on.
Most of the pitchers are in camp, and a handful of position players have arrived already as well. Off the top of my head, I spotted John McDonald, Aaron Hill, Russ Adams, Curtis Thigpen, J.P. Arencibia, Michael Barrett, Adam Lind and Travis Snider, as far as position players go.
Hill mentioned that I looked “a little beefed up” today, but I quickly corrected him and said, “No, you mean a little puffed up.” I guess taking three weeks off from running — dealing with a right leg issue since my last marathon in january — has helped me pack on a few pounds again. Good thing it’s Spring Training! I’ll be using the next six weeks to whip myself back into game shape, as long as there are so many Minor League deals being tossed around.
Speaking of which, the recently-departed Dirk Hayhurst is back in the fold once again. Hayhurst, if you’ve been following closely, was acquired off waivers from the Padres in October — only to be relased earlier this week to clear room on the 40-man roster for Matt Bush. Today, Hayhurst inked a Minors deal to stick with the Jays after all.
Chatted with Roy Halladay today about the state of the game and the whole A-Rod steroids admission and you’ll see that story up on bluejays.com today. We also discussed the state of the team and you’ll be reading something on that a little later. As far as the rotation, Halladay did say he wouldn’t mind seeing some of the younger arms stepping up and earning those spots.
He also said that, at the end of last season, he thought the Jays were going to be a lot more active over the winter. Halladay said he understands the situation, but he obviously would’ve loved to have seen the club go out and make some big pick-ups, including re-upping A.J. Burnett. As for his contract situation, Halladay doesn’t want to discuss it with the season being underway now.