I realize this isn’t John Farrell, but I was beginning to fear I’d never use this gem.
Jays manager John Farrell is pretty much the focal point of camp for the media hordes, as he’s accessible every day, and it’s his view of how things are going that truly matters most. So, when he says something, reporters are there to scoop it up– and I’m here to mash it all together.
Whatever. Here’s some stuff John Farrell has been saying.
On Brett Lawrie
Farrell spoke to reporters following yesterday’s game, and Mike Wilner posted the audio at Miked Up. He commented on a few players, but saved my favourite for Brett Lawrie.
“He fights off fastballs up around his neck, and then he takes one below the knees and he drives if off the right-centre field wall. That’s probably, three or four of those at-bats, in the early part of Spring Training, that you don’t often see. And it’s… uh… he’s pretty good.”
On Edwin Encarnacion
“Regardless of where he’s at on the field,” Farrell said, following Encarnacion’s attempt to hold the fort in left, “it was just encouraging to see the swings he took today. Regardless of the outcome of the couple of home runs, over the last four or five days he was kind of flying open and pulling off the ball a little bit. I know he had some extra work prior to the game with Murph, and when he stays through the baseball his power is as good as anybody we have, and it was obviously the case today.”
“When he maintains that swing he’s a very dangerous hitter,” he said later.
And in general, he was pleased with what he saw from the lineup– but maybe not even as pleased as we should be about how he views way to approach hitting. “It was good to see a willingness to pass the baton, for lack of a better term, on to the next guy,” he said. “Take their walk, and build up some pitch counts.” MORE PLEASE!
On Henderson Alvarez
Farrell was also full of praise for yesterday’s starter, Henderson Alvarez.
“He works quick, he throws strikes, he changes speeds,” said the manager, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. “He’s got very good stuff. That’s a pretty good combination for a consistent major-league pitcher. He’s picked up where he left off a year ago.
“He’s got three very good pitches. He’s got the ability to get very good major league hitters out inside the strike zone. He doesn’t require a big league hitter to chase out of the zone. He’s got the ability to get two outs with one pitch, with a heavy sinking fastball. More than anything it’s the continued execution of those three pitches. He’s got late action in the strike zone and the ability to get the best hitters in baseball out.”
“There’s been no conclusion,” Griffin said of the battle for left field, according to Griffin’s piece. “Certainly we’re at the midway point of games here in camp. The one thing that we have stated previously and continue to state is that Eric Thames finished last year as our left fielder. And yet there is a competition going on at spring training, so while we look at what takes place in camp, we also include what took place a year ago.That’s not to draw a separation, that’s to continue to state everything that will be factored into this.”
On Brett Cecil
Turning back a day, Farrell also sounded quite pleased with the results of Brett Cecil’s most recent start, according to Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com– who also notes that Cecil was sitting in the “high 80s” with his fastball.
“He had better finish to his stuff. He was down in the zone a little bit more consistently with his fastball. You could see the finish and just the arm speed at the end, or the release, being a little bit improved over his last outing, and that’s what allowed him to get the ball down in the strike zone better,” Farrell said.
“He wasn’t trying to get his velocity early in his delivery, which would spread him out and pitch up in the zone, so he did a good job. His changeup is always the pitch that he can go to, to slow a hitter down, and he did that again yesterday.”
On Adeiny Hechavarria
Continuing yesterday’s somewhat-unexpected Adeiny Hechavarria love-fest, like Alex Anthopoulos before him, Farrell spoke glowingly about the club’s perhaps better-than-advertised shortstop prospect elsewhere at BlueJays.com.
“I thought there were times last year when he wasn’t quite sure if he’d go in and hit the first pitch, try to steer the ball to right field. I think he’s understanding of what his capabilities are more than a year ago, and he had a few at-bats where he’d get down in the count 0-2 and work out a walk or find something good to hit,” the manager said, according to Gregor Chisholm.
“It just centres around his physical maturity. He’s stronger, his bat speed is noticeably quicker and he’s squared the ball up much better than last year,” he added. “He is growing into a man, and a man’s strength, and it’s showing out on the field.”
Assistant GM Tony LaCava gets all nutritional, adding:
“He has a very live athletic type of body that nutritionally probably hadn’t had the nutrition that he’s getting today. That certainly plays into it and obviously the weight training that he’s done. Couple good nutrition with weight training and the genetics that he has and you see the results of it.
“If you look at his swing, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t hit. He’s got a good swing, he’s got the bat speed, now he’s got he strength and it’s just a matter of him having the right approach. Obviously, that’s a work in progress, but he’s shown signs of it. Two years ago, his finish in Double-A, I thought, was encouraging, and then last year the finish in Triple-A was very encouraging as well.”