Here’s a bit of insight into how a few of our boys are progressing with rehab:
Brandon Morrow – He threw 25 pitches during a side session on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw again on Friday. Morrow has been on the DL since May 28 because of soreness in his right forearm. At first, the Jays thought Morrow would only require the minimum 15 days off but it now looks like he won’t be able to rejoin the team until sometime in August (big surprise). The Jays want Morrow, 28, to make at least 3 rehab starts and there is still no timetable of when he’ll make his first of the three. After his session of Friday, we could hear more. Stay tuned.
Sergio Santos – He has been making appearances in single-A but has not been able to pitch on back-to-back days – something the Jays say is a must before he rejoins the team. Arguably the biggest offseason acquisition two years ago, Santos has only pitched in 11 games for the Jays and has lost his closer role. The surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow appears to have been successful and Santos is optimistic that he’ll be able to return shortly after the allstar break (although this is the same Santos that said he wouldn’t have to go on the DL – twice).
Brett Lawrie – He was promoted from double-A to triple-A and played for Buffalo last night going 2-4 with a homer, 3 RBI, and a stolen base. During 3 games in double-A, Lawrie went 3 – 9 with four walks. Interestingly, the Jays had Lawrie play 2B last night in triple-A, not his usually 3B. To me, it seems unlikely that Lawrie will move to 2B unless the Jays acquire another player to play 3B. It makes more sense to have current fill-in, Maicer Izturis, play 2B. I suppose you could have Edwin Encarnacion play 3B and move Lawrie to 2B, but that leave Adam Lind at 1B with no power DH bat. Perhaps this is just a move to see what Lawrie looks like for when the Jays play interleague and lose the DH. In that case, it would make sense to get Lawrie some reps at 2B. The 23-year-old is recovering from an ankle sprain and could rejoin the team at anytime. The Jays simply want to make sure Lawrie’s timing at the plate is back and not rush him. If he has another solid offensive performance in his next triple-A game, I imagine the Jays will immediately move him to the big club and cut Munenori Kawasaki.
The Blue Jays have moved Jose Reyes from single-A to triple-A to continue his rehab assignment vs. stiffer competition.
In three games in single-A, Reyes went 5-13 (.385), scored 3 runs, and stole a base.
The Jays have said they want Reyes to play a minimum of three games in triple-A to ensure his timing at the plate isn’t an issue when they bring him back to the big club. And while the Jays haven’t schedule a return date, there is lots of speculation that he will join the team when they depart on a division rival filled roadtrip next Monday – 3 games in Tampa, 4 games in Boston.
In 10 games, Reyes hit .395 with 3 extra-base hits and 5 steals.
Reyes has been out since April 12 when he suffered a severe ankle sprain while stealing second. The Jays will immediately have Reyes resume his role as the starting SS and leadoff hitter upon his return. The question becomes what the rest of the batting order will look like. There is talk that Gibbons might move Melky Cabrera to the 5th spot (currently he is leading off) to keep Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Adam Lind in the 2,3,4 spots. I think this is silly. Put Reyes at the top of the line up, have Cabrera bat 2nd (as was the plan going into the season) and Bautista, Encarnacion, and Lind can round out the heart of the order at 3,4,5.
Barring any setbacks, Reyes looks to be back with the Jays ahead of the original forecast (allstar break) which is very rare for this organization. Usually, the Jays are overly optimistic with recovery times and fans are disappointed. Reyes quick recovery is a pleasant surprise.
It’s been an eventful week for our beloved Blue Jays. Over the past week we’ve seen the following:
- Sean Nolin had a rough debut but in my opinion has good stuff
- Nolin got sent down following his start – wrong move in my opinion and the Jays leave glaring holes in the rotation
- R.A. Dickey got lit up by a potent Orioles offence and then the Braves – he sure isn’t pitching like an ace
- Munenori Kawasaki became a hero while Brett Lawrie became a villian during a walk off win
- Lawrie hit the DL with an ankle sprain
- Colby Rasmus got the better of his brother Cory in a rare pitcher/brother battle at the MLB level by ripping a double
- Brandon Morrow got pulled and is now day-to-day with a right forearm strain
- Casey Janssen’s shoulder kept him out of an extra inning game vs. the Braves and Ramon Ortiz and Thad Weber can’t hold the game
- Ortiz and Weber got sent down, Juan Perez, Neil Wagner, and Todd Redmond – Perez and Wagner back up Esmil Rogers first start sine 2011 to help shutout the Braves (Perez looked amazing)
With all that news, here are my thoughts:
- Don’t call up Nolin just to send him down after one bad outing. It’s worse for his confidence to go up and down than it is to stay up and try again. Especially with no Josh Johnson, an injured Morrow, and a combination of Chad Jenkins/Esmil Rogers plugging holes. If you call a kid up, give him a few starts. Drew Hutchison came up last season and didn’t fair well at first but good pitches make adjustments (and I believe Nolin is a good pitcher). The first three runs he surrendered in the 1st inning vs. the Orioles were due to a seeing eye single, a little bloop single, then a homer off a quality strike down and away. He pitched much better than his line showed – give the kid a chance to redeem himself. If he wasn’t ready for the majors, why call him up in the first place?
- The Jays need to figure out what is wrong with Dickey. I think it’s because of his tight neck and shoulder – the last couple years he consistently hit 80 mph with his knuckler and now it’s more often 74-75 mph. He doesn’t have nearly the control with it as evidence by his walk rate per inning pitched being double compared to his previous three seasons. Dickey needs to make the adjustment of not throwing as hard. Perhaps mixing in more slow knucklers at 60 – 65 mph to make the 75 mph look that much faster. Also, he needs to throw more first pitch fastballs. Opponents are almost always taking the first pitch. Why would you not take at least one strike vs. a knuckleballer?
- Dear Lawrie, you are not mature, you are not playing well, and you should never show up your teammates or coaches – especially on a potential sac fly for a run that means nothing. When you come back from the DL, just shut up, stop whining, and play good, quality baseball with a smile on your face. You’re attitude grew tiresome ages ago.
- Morrow, please don’t say you’re fine when you’re not fine. If you can’t pitch, don’t try. You just screw up the bullpen for the next three games. Enough with the bumped back starts. Just take a 15-day trip to the DL if you have to. With Johnson coming back, it’s the right time to do it if you need to.
- Janssen, I love ya buddy. But really, you felt that much better one day later and could pick up a 1-2-3 save? I would have taken your wonky shoulder over Weber’s third appearance in three days ANY day of the week. I mean, last week we were all saying “who is Thad Weber?” Just be ready to go when we need you. If you can’t pitch after a week off, maybe you should be on the DL also.
- Perez and Wagner – great numbers in triple-A (0.86 and 0.89 ERAs respectively). Keep it up. Maybe we won’t be such a revolving door in the ‘pen.
Final thought – Why not start Edwin Encarnacion at 3B and Adam Lind at 1B during inter-league play vs. righties? If you get a lead, make a defensive substitution. I know Edwin is pretty awful at 3B, but we need to score runs and Lind is leading our team in AVG and is second to only Jose Bautista in OBP. We need to have him in the game for more than one at bat. As a good friend of mine asked me, if Cito could start Paul Molitor at 3B during the ’93 world series in Atlanta, why can’t Gibbons start Edwin there on game 54 of the regular season?
I’m tired of losing. Even more so, I’m tired of losing to John Farrell’s Red Sox.
Last night the Blue Jays dropped another game to lower their record to 10 – 19. That’s the 27th of 30 MLB teams. Only the Houston Astros are worse in the American League.
I never expect to win a game when our starting pitcher walks 7 batters. It rarely happens. But with all the walks (10 in total) allowed to Red Sox hitters, the Jays only surrendered 3 runs and definitely had a chance to win.
Edwin Encarnacion came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded. He’s been making solid contact for the past two weeks and really hitting it hard every time he puts it in play. On a 2-0 pitch, he rolled over on a slider and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Adam Lind came to the plate with two out and the bases loaded later in the game. He has been seeing the ball as well as any Blue Jay lately (11 walks in his past 9 games). He worked the count full and then struck out on a fastball at the letters.
So the offence had its chance. Bad start for J.A. Happ? Definitely. He couldn’t command anything. But the staff gave us a chance to win last night and the offence, yet again, let us down.
This next comment might sound a bit like I’m just bitter and looking for excuses for the Jays – I’m not. They have played horrible baseball and deserve their record. I really think they will go on a run, but they deserve to be 10 – 19 with the way they’ve played so far. So keeping in mind this is not an excuse….what the hell was up with home plate umpire Gary Darling last night? His strike zone was inconsistent to say the least. He gave Ryan Dempster so many pitches off the outside corner, which I’m totally fine with if it was going both ways – but it wasn’t, and poor Happ couldn’t get a call when he was on the plate. It was downright ridiculous. Now, this umpiring did not lose the Jays the game. The lack of clutch hitting lost them the game. But you have to wonder if all the previous whining about balls and strikes over the past couple seasons is catching up with the Jays with umpires around the league.
On a positive note, only Brett Lawrie complained last night. Usually it’s Lawrie, Jose Bautista, J.P. Arencibia, and the list goes on. I’m happy Bautista has shut his trap the last couple games. You have to think John Gibbons had a private conversation with him about it.
This is going to sound weird to some since the offence sucked again last night, but I think they are really close to breaking out. The at bats are getting much better. It was rare that they chased and it really looks like most guys are starting to see the ball well. The only two that looked lost at the plate were Melky Cabrera and Emilio Bonifacio. Cabrera is in a funk and Gibbons has now moved him back to the 2-hole where he is certain to see pitches while hitting in front of Bautista – thank you Gibbons (you should have never moved him). And Bonifacio just isn’t getting enough consistent at bats, so it’s tough. He should be starting nearly every night and Munenori Kawasaki should be on the bench to spell Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis when they need a night off or to come in for Bonifacio as a defensive replacement late in a game if the Jays have the lead. How many times do I need to say this?
And Gibbons, I really do like you as a manager and don’t want to see you go (despite what some of the fan base is saying), but how can you not pinch hit for Kawasaki in the bottom of the 9th when he represents the tying run at the plate? Really? Mark DeRosa was available. Hell, even Maicer Izturis has more pop than Kawasaki. Just a bizarre decision to pinch hit for Bonifacio with Rajai Davis and not pinch hit for Kawasaki when he represented the tying run.
I realize it sounds like I really don’t like Kawasaki but I actually do. I just don’t like him as a starter or at the plate representing the tying run in the 9th inning.
Let’s hope Ricky Romero’s new mechanics can hold up tonight vs. Felix Hernandez. And let’s hope the bats come alive.
MLB insiders report that the Blue Jays have released David Cooper. This move will no doubt come as a surprise to Jays fans and put the reality of Cooper’s back injuries into the forefront.
Cooper, 26, was the Jays first round draft pick in 2008 and has faired well in a sample size of MLB playing time. However, games at the MLB level have been limited because the Jays already have Adam Lind – another left handed hitting 1B/DH type – under contract. With this season being Lind’s last guaranteed year on his deal (the club holds options for the next two seasons), it was thought that if Lind didn’t perform, the Jays would buyout the option and give Cooper a shot.
In 2011, Cooper was the Pacific Coast League batting champ, posting a .364 and driving in 96 runs. The knock on Cooper has been his lack of home run power – that same 2011 year in triple-A, of his 170 hits that season were homers (although he did rake 51 doubles).
In 45 games with the Jays in 2012, Cooper posted a .300 avg, .324 obp, .464 slg batting line in 145 plate appearances, including four home runs.
The Jays have not ruled out re-signing Cooper as a minor league free agent in 2014 if he can rehab through his serious disc issues, but for now he is a free agent.
My sense is the Jays have little to no confidence that Cooper will ever be healthy enough to play another game at the big league level or they wouldn’t cut him loose so quickly. He wasn’t arbitration eligible until 2016 and not schedule to be a free agent until 2019.
It’s sad to see Cooper’s career trail off like this while he’s so young. I wish him the best and hope he can rehab and prove the Jays wrong. I also hope his back issues are not so serious they limit him elsewhere in life off the ball field.
The Blue Jays split the squad and played two games today – one vs. the Orioles and one vs. the Yankees. They also split the record, losing to the Orioles 5-4 and shutting out the Yanks 2-0.
I must confess I was working during the games, but from what I’ve read here are the highlights:
Jays vs. Orioles
- Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer in his first game back since shutting down his season last August to undergo wrist surgery. This is an extremely good sign. A lot of power hitters have struggled with power after wrist issues. It’s only one homerun and only one game (and a Spring training game at that) but it’s nice to see some pop in Bautista’s bat.
Jays vs. Yankees
- Led by J.A Happ, Jays pitchers shut out the Yankees.
- Happ had a fastball get away that drilled Curtis Granderson in the forearm. Granderson left the game and went for x-rays. Bad news for him and Yankees fans – Granderson out 10 weeks with a broken forearm. This put a big hole in the left-handed hitting power of the Yankees offence.
Fun stat: Although I don’t expect Adam Lind to hit lefties well this year based on historic performance, he is currently batting 1.000 vs. lefties this spring.
Next up: the Jays play a split squad vs. the Red Sox tomorrow at 1 pm EST.
Sorry about Granderson; let’s hope the key Jays remain injury free this spring!
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“It’s serious.” Those were the words spoken by both manager John Gibbons and general manager Alex Anthopoulos when referring to David Cooper’s lingering back issues.
Cooper hit the DL last season in August and hasn’t played since. Reports are now coming out that he has a disc issue in the middle of his back and will not be reporting to Spring Training – instead, he’ll be seeing back specialists. Playing time in 2013 is now in question.
Cooper was expected to be the triple-A first basemen and provide depth should injury befall either Adam Lind or Edwin Encarnacion. Also, Cooper was also expected to provide depth if Lind struggled. Cooper boasted a .300 batting average in 45 games with the Blue Jays last season and figured to be part of the big league club at some point, even if as a September call up.
The Jays might be searching for some minor league depth at 1B now that Cooper’s season is in question. However, the signing of Andy LaRoche. LaRoche, 29, spent the entire season in triple-A, posting a .251 avg, .335 obp, .422 slg, with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 41 RBIs. He last played in the Majors in 2011, batting .247 with a .654 OPS in 40 games for the A’s. The right-handed hitter is a career .226 batter in the Majors.
I’m sure the Jays would like to add a left-handed hitting 1B to add depth in the minors behind Lind. Too bad Casey Kotchman just signed a minor league deal with the Marlins….he could have filled in nicely.
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