His image still graces a large panel of windows on the south side of Rogers Centre. And, why not? The Blue Jays are still on the hook to pay the rest of the roughly $15 million that B.J. Ryan is owed through next season.
Since the spring, Ryan struggled with his pitch velocity and his pitch command. He dropped out of the World Baseball Classic over concerns with his mechanics. He lost his closer’s role due to his persistent problems.
At the beginning of July, Ryan was issuing walks at an increasingly alarming rate and he told the media he felt his sporadic use played a role in his inconsistent results. A few days later, the Blue Jays released Ryan.
All this after the man saved 38 games and had a 1.37 ERA just three years earlier.
Ryan quickly found a job with the Cubs, who took him on with a Minor League contract hoping to revive his career and have a veteran left-handed option in the process. In five games with Triple-A Iowa, Ryan walked five batters in 5 2/3 innings.
On Wednesday, Chicago released Ryan. The reason?
FLAT-LINING? After the Blue Jays’ 5-3 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday, Roy Halladay was asked what the team’s goal should be over the final two months. His response: “Win. That’s the reason you’re here. I don’t think at any point you can pack it in and work on things. You have to come out every day to try and win. That’s what it comes down to.”
On Wednesday, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston was subsequently asked if he feels his team may be going a little flat, considering its place in the standings. Gaston didn’t believe that to be the case.
“I dont think so,” Gaston said. “I think last night, I think the guys put up a pretty good battle in the end, trying to come back and tie the ballgame or win the ballgame for Doc. So, I don’t feel that. If I do, I think I’d have to have a couple meetings…”
Gaston then smiled and turned to radio man Jerry Howarth, who was seated next to him on the bench in the dugout.
“…and invite Jerry in and throw him around the room a little bit,” Gaston joked. “Show them what I’d do to them.”
Gaston did say that the very end of the season can be tough for players who are not on contending teams.
“I think the toughest time is the last week of the season for guys, if you’re not in the running. Even if you’re trying to stay out of last place, a lot of guys are starting to think about going home — no matter what you do or try to say.”
ON MITRE: I’m not to the stage of my baseball writing career where I can say, “Way back when…” too often. Today, though, seeing Sergio Mitre starting for the Yankees brings back some memories of my days with the Lansing State Journal. I covered the Class A Lansing Lugnuts in ’04 (Cubs) and ’05 (Jays). In the spring of 2004, I convinced the paper to get me credentials to the Cubs spring training in order to write some features on a few former Lugnut players. Mitre was one player I wrote about — one of the first baseball stories of my career. Click here to read the article (or, to see the web site I designed and created while at Michigan State to serve as my active resume. Man, I should probably update that site!).
NEW YORK YANKEES (64-42)
First place AL East, — GB
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, DH
5. Nick Swisher, RF
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Melky Cabrera, CF
8. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
9. Jose Molina, C
Starter: RHP Sergio Mitre (1-0, 7.90)
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Joe Inglett, LF
Starter: LHP Marc Rzepczynski (1-2, 3.25)
Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @MLBastian