Some minor movement here at Dunedin Stadium this morning. Blue Jays manager called a handful of players into his office — none unexpected — and sent them packing for the Minor Leagues.
Returned to Minors camp were Jason Lane, Russ Adams, Dirk Hayhurt, Scott Campbell and Brad Emaus. Brian Wolfe was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Adams, who is in a similar situation as Curtis Thigpen was before being dealt to the A’s yesterday — no clear home in the organization — said he’d welcome a trade in order to have a fresh start.
“Without question,” Adams said. “It’s one of those things where you’re caught in a bit of a trap and all you can do is continue to play and hope something breaks through at some point, whether it’s here or with somebody else. I’ve just kind of got to take things in stride and hope there’s some kind of a break around the corner.”
With that in mind, Adams was happy that Gaston gave him as much playing time as he did this spring. Same with Lane, who has five homers in Grapefruit League play. Gaston noted that Lane played well enough to make the team, but there’s simply no room for the veteran outfielder with Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, Travis Snider and Adam Lind in the fold.
“It’s just one of things with numbers with him,” Gaston said. “He’s just one of those guys that in case something goes down — somebody gets hurt — we’ve got him in the Minor Leagues.”
As for the rotation, Gaston said the roster will be set before the team heads to Jupiter on Friday for two days of exhibition games with the Marlins. Scott Richmond goes today. Gaston also said again that the team might be leaning toward sliding David Purcey into the No. 2 slot to avoid having two or three lefty starters in a row.
Tigers brought a solid A squad today. And the wind is howling straight in from center field. It should be a good test for Richmond. Jays’ lineup — minus Rod Barajas not being in there — looks close to what it will probably be come Opening Day.
Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Carlos Guillen, LF
Gary Sheffield, DH
Gerald Laird, C
Brandon Inge, 3B
Danny Worth, SS
Edwin Jackson, P
Marco Scutaro, SS
Aaron Hill, 2B
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Scott Rolen, 3B
Adam Lind, DH
Michael Barrett, C
Travis Snider, LF
Scott Richmond, P
That’s from one of the schedule sheets hanging inside the entrance to the Jays’ clubhouse here. The pitchers all have a meeting at 9 a.m. this morning and they need to report to the “Classroom room.”
A couple sheets over was the schedule for today’s first official workout, and plenty of pitchers were heading over to check out what stations they needed to go to first and which groups they’ve been place in. There are four groups for bullpen sessions, and some of the names are in bold and some aren’t, leading to some confusion.
“Those are the guys who already made the team,” quipped T.J. Beam.
Dirk Hayhurst — who enjoys chatting with us scribes and is a soon-to-be published writer himself — walked over and tossed in a self-deprecating jab: “Am I even on the list? Or did I get cut already?” This from the guy who was released last week and then subsquently re-signed.
Some new position player arrivals today include Alex Rios (sans mohawk), Vernon Wells and Mighty Joe Inglett. We chatted with John McDonald and Rios a bit about life as new fathers, and neither got much sleep over the offseason. Rios, whose daughter is seven months old, was asked if he mastered the art of diaper changing.
“No,” he said with a laugh. “I actually haven’t changed one yet.”
Rios also said he didn’t do much over the winter, even skipping out on Vernon Wells’ birthday party. Wells, sitting a few lockers over, chuckled when Rios brought that up. I suggested that the party should’ve been held in Puerto Rico. “I know!” Rios agreed.
After the meeting, pitchers and catchers will begin their workout today with good old-fashioned stretching on the team’s “agility field,” which is just a plot of grass between two practice diamonds with a grid of lines painted on it. Two years ago, it was just a field. Now, it’s got a super cool name!
Starbucks: Located and enjoyed. Grande White Mocha, because they don’t carry Irish Cream anymore. A Grande Irish Cream Mocha is my drink of choice at any other coffee joint.
In my CD player: The Killers — Hot Fuss, because as much as I love this Vegas band, that first album is still their best.
Last night: Watched a three-hour Baseball Tonight special, which they said at the start was aimed at previewing all 30 teams. Funny, I don’t recall them bringing up the Jays.
Tonight: Trying to find the Flight of the Conchords episode from last night somewhere online. No HBO at the ol’ condo. Not cool, especially when the Wife calls laughing to see if I watched the show. No, I did not. Thanks for asking.
The Jay Birds swung a minor trade today, reeling in right-hander Matt Bush from the Padres in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. To clear room on the ol’ roster, October waiver claim Dirk Hayhurst was released.
Bush would probably love if he was simply known as the first overall pick of the 2004 Draft. Unfortunately, he’s becoming known more for being a bust as a positional player and for, well, being busted.
The Friars designated Bush for assignment last week to clear room on the roster for Cliff Floyd. But, his dismissal also happened to come while he wound up being the target of a police investigation.
The 23-year-old Bush is being investigated for allegedly assaulting members of a high school lacrosse team in suburban San Diego. According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, a witness saw an intoxicated Bush throw a golf club at one of the high schoolers and he allegedly shouted, “I’m Matt [Bleepin’] Bush!” before driving over a curb and fleeing the scene.
Not long after he was drafted, San Diego suspended Bush indefinitely after he was arrested at a bar across the street from the team’s complex in Peoria, Ariz. Among the charges: biting one of the bouncers and underage drinking. Bush, who was reinstated a month later after leading guilty to three charges, was also involved in a bar fight last summer.
Needless to say, Toronto is providing a much-needed change of scenery for Bush. Beyond that, Bush is giving the Jays an on-field project as well. He was drafted as a shortstop, but after hitting .219 over four seasons — none above Class A — Bush was converted into a pitcher. The, he blew out his elbow in ’07, needed Tommy John and missed all of 2008.
Bush won’t be in the running for a job with the Jays. He’ll give Toronto another arm for their system and will take time to climb the ranks. Maybe there’s something there, though. Time will tell. It’s a low-risk, potential high-reward move. Maybe a change of scenery is all Bush needs. We’ll see.