Jesse Litsch refused the assignment when the Jays tried to send him to Triple-A earlier in the winter, becoming a free agent. He’ll now miss the 2013 season as he recovers from cartilage replacement surgery in his shoulder. Yes, you read that right. CLNS Radio explains that “cartilage replacement is a relatively new procedure that involves taking a bone and cartilage from a cadaver and attaching it inside the patient’s body. Litsch’s surgery is the first time cartilage replacement has ever been used on a baseball player, and the success of his surgery will likely set a precedent for future pitchers in the same scenario.” They add that Litsch “will likely draw interest from teams if he proves he is healthy during winter ball next year. Because the surgery is the first done on a baseball player, recovery time is unknown.”
In the National Post, John Lott looks at out-of-options reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who is looking to put his problems with drugs (or whatever you want to call weed) behind him.
Lott also tells us about the spring’s overlooked mentorship: Henry Blanco’s and A.J. Jimenezeseses. And in yet another piece about John Gibbons, who is ready to get the games started already. Because… y’know… as fun as hype is, Spring Training is actually really fucking tedious.
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet looks at the club’s starting pitching depth, including a not-very-J.A.-Happ-like Brad Lincoln, who is happy to take on whatever role the club has for him, as well as some other guys slated for Buffalo, like Esteban Germano, Dave Bush, and others.
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Wilner talks about the impressive Sergio Santos, who says he feels as good as he did before the injury that derailed his 2012. And so does Ken Fidlin of the Sun, who looks at another new member of the Jays’ ‘pen, Esmil Rogers.
In a notebook post at MLB.com, Gregor Chisholm writes about Gibbers’ insistence that the Jays will be going with the best team possible this year, not worrying about guys out of options as much as in years before, and also about Brandon Morrow getting the call in the first game of the spring, which goes Saturday in Dunedin. There’s also something about Paul Quantrill and whatever the thing is that he’s doing with the Jays this season. Elsewhere, Gregor talks about Josh Johnson.
Another notebook post from Gregor tells us that it’s been confirmed by the club that R.A. Dickey will have a personal catcher this season, and that Brandon Morrow will go just one inning in his spring debut on Saturday.
At his North Of The Border blog, Gregor also has an extended transcript of a Q&A with Pete Walker, and a look at the pitching schedule over the first few games of spring. Next Monday’s game, which I’m aiming to be at, will be started by Ricky Romero. Which… I was going to say is boring, but it could actually be interesting.
Richard Griffin of the Star reports the “personal catcher” angle, as well, noting more specifically that J.P. Arencibia is unlikely to catch Dickey this season. Because… obviously.
Jeff Blair of Globe and Mail checks in from Dunedin, looking at how the Jays have brought in a pair of tough catches: the quick-working Mark Buehrle and the quick-working knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press, via the Globe, looks at the long, strange story of Steve Delabar’s MLB career.
Scott Johnson of Franchise Mode gives you some excellent reasons to run away from the rush release they call MLB 2K13.
Dirk Hayhurst gives some thoughts– and pictures– on Tuesday’s Spring Training session.
The Tao of Stieb keeps looking at Jays players as they head into the 2013 season, stopping today on Josh Thole.
Baseball Prospectus (not paywall’d!) lists their best moves of the off-season, and the Jays’ series of “go for it” moves rank fourth, just ahead the Rays’ pickup of PECOTA projected 3-win $5-million shortstop Yunel Escobar. Number one? The Clevelands’ hiring of Terry Francona, so get out your giant grains of salt.
Also at BP (paywall’d!) they rank the top fantasy shortstops in the game, with Jose Reyes coming in second, behind Troy Tulowitzki.
Richard Griffin’s latest Bullpen post at the Toronto Star looks at the Jays’ waning prospect depth (in the wake of this winter’s deals, obviously), Connecticut-born Rajai Davis and the tragedy in Newtown, and PEDs.
Speaking of prospects, only two Jays make Baseball America’s new Top 100 list, with Aaron Sanchez checking in at 65th (behind Noah Syndergaard, FYI), and Marcus Stroman at 98.
Mike Rutsey of the Sun writes about potential AL MVP candidates, including Jose Bautista. His colleague, Ken Fidlin, writes a multi-topic post about Casey Janssen, Roy Halladay, and the club’s speed on the basepaths. Fidlin has another one still, this time about Brandon Morrow.
Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs wonders what the hell the purpose of Adam Lind serves, and ultimately concludes that he could be a decent-ish platoon guy. And… yeah… I can buy that, I guess.
Alex Anthopoulos is crossing his fingers over this one: at Minor League Ball, John Sickels looks at one case where a club drafting a bag full of tools worked out: Kenny Lofton.
Mop Up Duty looks at R.A. Dickey’s fastball, which is… actually pretty amazing.
The Blue Jay Hunter peers into the soul of the great unknown, aka Melky Cabrera.
Scott Lewis of Getting Blanked makes us want like David Price more than we do: the 25-year-old Rays hurler says that the Yankees’ ban on facial hair is far too old school, and that he’d never sign as a free agent somewhere like that. Meanwhile, Drew looks at some highlights from picture day across the league. Which… holy shit, Jayson Werth.
Lastly, Bluebird Banter takes us on an annotated journey though yesterday’s 2013 Jays video game video thing.