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
Some more pics from the Jays’ workout today.
Roy Halladay preparing a throw during a bullpen session
Lyle Overbay getting ready to take some cuts in batting practice
Adam Lind watching batting practice
Manager Cito Gaston talks hitting with coach Gene Tenace
Manager Cito Gaston takes in batting practice
Adam Loewen watches batting practice
Travis Snider steps out of the batting cage
Infielder Joe Inglett prepares to field a grounder
Second baseman Aaron Hill fielding a ground ball
Shortstops Marco Scutaro (left) and John McDonald during fielding drills
Pitching prospect Brett Cecil fires a pitch during a bullpen session
Ace Roy Halladay throws while pitching coach Brad Arnsberg admires
Left-hander David Purcey in his windup during a bullpen session
Catcher Michael Barrett and Brett Cecil after their bullpen session
Reliever Jesse Carlson throws during a bullpen session
Casey Janssen throws during a bullpen session
Jesse Litsch prepares to throw during a bullpen session
Reliever Jason Frasor follows through on a pitch during a bullpen session
Reliever Brandon League prepares a pitch during his bullpen session
Here is a slew of photos that I took while checking out the Blue Jays’ first official workout for pitchers and catchers on Monday. I don’t have the photo gallery option I had with the previous blog format from past seasons, so I’ll just drop ’em in the post here. Enjoy. ~JB
Here’s manager Cito Gaston holding court with members of the Toronto media
Scott Richmond and Jeremy Accardo during early-morning stretching
Pitching coach Brad Arnsberg
Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Aaron Hill (From left) head in after BP
Outfielder Adam Lind playing catch
Shaun Marcum plays catch with a team trainer
Matt Clement throws during a bullpen session
Scott Richmond in his windup during a bullpen session
Jeremy Accardo throws a pitch during a bullpen session
Ace Roy Halladay throwing during a bullpen session
GM J.P. Ricciardi watching pitchers with manager Cito Gaston
Closer B.J. Ryan prepares a throw during a bullpen session
Brian Tallet winds up during a bullpen session
GM J.P. Ricciardi and hitting coach Gene Tenace watch the pitchers
Japan’s Ken Takahashi holds court with the Japanese press
Pitching coach Brad Arnsberg talking shop with pitcher Matt Clement
Matt Clement joined us in the media workroom a little while ago and chatted with us scribes for a solid 20 minutes. With today being physicals day, and Clement still making his way back from a major shoulder operation, the first question was made somewhat in jest.
“You pass your physical?” asked one reporter.
“I did good,” said a smiling Clement.
Clement didn’t go into detail on what the doctor said, but did say he thought the doc was surprised that the pitcher’s shoulder was in as good of shape as it is. Clement said he doesn’t feel like he has any limitations right now and he’s looking forward to taking advantage of this competition for rotation jobs.
“I think I’m in a good situation,” Clement said.
Clement is also looking forward to working with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg again. The pair worked together during spring 2002 until Clement was traded by the Marlins to the Cubs. Clement said in that brief period, Arnsberg helped get him in line mechanically, and he thinks that’s a main reason he had such success that year (career highs in innings and strikeouts).
Clement said he threw six times off a mound before coming to camp and he’s starting working breaking balls into the mix. From talking to him, Clement sounds confident that he’s going to have a good spring. Of course, doesn’t every player seem that way when camp opens? If Clement is near his former form, though, the Jays might have a solid option there.
He might want to consider regrowing his well-known goatee. Clement showed up to the Mattick clean shaven and said people were having a tough time recognizing him.
There’s an older security guard named Jim who’s here every year. Today, as usual, he’s parked in a fold-up chair outside the Blue Jays’ clubhouse. He’s been here since 7 a.m., and he’s been guarding a locked door.
Still not much going on in the way of player sightings. I think I might’ve spotted Shawn Camp briefly, but it was from a distance and I could be wrong. Coaches have been coming in and out of the building here, but they’re all headed over to the ballpark to sit down with the front-office types for some meetings.
Bench coach Brian Butterfield, bullpen coach Bruce Walton, pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and third base coach Nick Leyva have all poked their heads into the media room to say hello. Just spotted hitting coach Gene Tenace and, hey! Jays closer B.J. Ryan just strolled by. No rest for the Beej.
Walton left only a few minutes after arriving, and before he headed out the door he held up a thin book with a Blue Jays logo on the cover and smiled: “Well, that’s all the work I’m doing here today. I’ve got to go read up on all my new players.”
NEW SIGHTINGS: Roy Halladay, Jesse Litsch, Matt Clement, Brandon League. Gold stars all around. Day off? Not for these guys.