Headed over to Dunedin Stadium this afternoon to try to catch up with B.J. Ryan before his appearance here tonight in Bradenton. Ryan was polite and apologetic, but said he declined comment in relation to his velocity issue right now.
“I don’t have anything to say,” he said. “Nothing prosperous.”
Soooo, I guess that’s that for now. We’ll obviously keep trying as the next week rolls along.
Some other movement today: The Jays have dealt catcher Curtis Thigpen to the A’s in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. I hope Thigpen can find a place with Oakland. His stock had fallen with Toronto and catchers J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman had flown passed Thigpen on the depth chart.
Had he not been traded, Thigpen would’ve likely would up at Double-A as the backup to Jeroloman, and maybe would’ve been moved around the field as a kind of super utility guy. Thigpen is a guy I also covered briefly when he was with the Lansing Lugnuts back in ’04, when I was still at Michigan State, so I’ll be pulling for him.
The Jays also released pitchers Mike Maroth and Rick Bauer today. As for Matt Clement, he showed up at Minor League camp and has accepted the invite to pitch at Triple-A. Good move on his part. If he pitches well, he’ll likely receive a chance to start for the Jays at some point this season. He gives the club some veteran depth in a year that will feature a lot of young arms.
It’s a windy night here in Bradenton. More later…
Marco Scutaro, SS
Brad Emaus, 2B
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Scott Rolen, 3B
Rod Barajas, C
Travis Snider, LF
Howie Clark, DH
Roy Halladay, P
Nyjer Morgan, LF
Freddy Sanchez, 2B
Nate McLouth, CF
Ryan Doumit, C
Eric Hinske, 1B
Brandon Moss, RF
Andy LaRoche, 3B
Brian Bixler, SS
Virgil Vasquez, P
Some items from the Mattick today:
–Vernon Wells spoke with us scribes and said he’s hoping to be back in a couple weeks. He doesn’t feel the injury is as bad as last year and feels that his experience a year ago can help him rebound quicker. He and Gaston make it sound like this hammy is always going to be a risk from now on.
–Mike Maroth threw off the mound in a bullpen session and felt good before and after. So that surgery he needs? A no go for now.
–Ryan talked with me today some about last season and how great it’s been to not have to worry about getting healthy right now. He called his performance at times last year “ugly” and said he was pretty much pitching without a slider all season long. Early reports from pitching coach Brad Arnsberg are that Bo’s slider is “tight”, his command is good and he’s stronger than he was last year. Great news for Toronto.
–Cito’s tentative lineup for Wednesday’s opener: Joe Inglett, 3B, Aaron Hill, 2B, Alex Rios, RF, Kevin Millar, 1B, Adam Lind, DH, Rod Barajas, C, Travis Snider, LF, Buck Coats, CF, John McDonald, SS. Pitching: Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, B.J. Ryan, Brian Burres, Rick Bauer. … Coming for the Yankees: Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and [drumroll] Alex Rodriguez. On the mound for the Bombers: Brett Tomko, Kei Igawa and some other dudes.
–Cito said today that he plans on getting Adam Loewen plenty of playing time this spring: “I want him to play quite a bit. He’s a kid that looks good swinging. I spoke to him this year and told him that I was going to try to play him as much as i can. I’ve got him down mostly outfield. He needs some at-bats to get back to seeing the ball and swinging the bat.”
–Gaston doesn’t have a specific number of ABs in mind, but said Jose Bautista is very much in the plans this season. Said he wants to get him action in the outfield, at third and first base, as the DH and even at short. Gaston also doesn’t mind that Bautista is playing in the WBC with the D.R., even though he figured to get more ABs and innings with Wells out.
–Scott Richmond is skedded to start Thursday and Matt Clement on Friday. Brad Mills is slated to follow Clement, while Ken Takahashi is down to follow Richmond.
OPINION TIME: With the recent news about Wells, and after watching Rios man center field for two prolonged stretches last season, I’m thinking a change in the outfield alignment might be in order soon. If Wells’ injury is indeed going to be a constant risk, he might benefit from moving to left, or at least seeing more time as the DH. I absolutely loved Rios in center and Snider has been billed more as a right fielder than a left fielder. So, for the long run, would it not make sense to put Wells in left, Rios in center and Snider in right? The Jays have invested a lot of money in Wells and Rios and, along with Snider, these three outfielders are a major part of the organizations future. Just saying
I upgraded my White Mocha from Starbucks to Venti size this morning to help rebound from what was a very entertaining evening out with some of the writers last night. Feeling tip top this a.m. and ready to get to work.
Walked into the work room this morning and was greeted with a nice little new “Spring Notes” handout courtesy of the PR staff — nice touch, guys. Besides noting that tomorrow’s workout doesn’t begin until noon, helping us scribes avoid the early-morning mistake we made yesterday, there are some other minor items of interest.
Among them, lefty prospect Brett Cecil is slated to start in Toronto’s first spring game against the Yankees on Wednesday. Ricky Romero, B.J. Ryan, Brian Burees and Rick Bauer are also skedded to appear. On Thursday in Clearwater, Scott Richmond will start against the Phightin’ Phils. Also penciled in: Ken Takahashi, Bryan Bullington, Luis Perez, Bill Murphy and Fabio Castro.
The Jays will also play 3 “B” games this spring, which will help get innings for the pile of pitchers in the running for a starting job. All 3 will be against the Phils, with games on March 2 at 10 a.m. and March 6 at 2 p.m. at the Philly’s park, and another on March 18 at 10 a.m. at the ol’ Mattick here.
Tomorrow is the Jays’ photo day as well. More later.