I’m back in the Great White Ball-Freezing North after a couple lazy days travelling, and the Jays… yep, it turns out they’re still working their way through the spring grind. And they’re in Clearwater, home of Lenny’s, their giant, gluttonous American breakfast, the bowl of effing Danishes they give you before your giant, gluttonous American breakfast, and the Philadelphia Philles. Or, at least, a split squad variation of.
And shit, it’s even on TV. Baseball-ish!
In the National Post, John Lott talks to a not-quite-so-young-looking-anymore Dustin McGowan, who will actually throw off a mound for the first time in over a year on Tuesday– which gives him time, according to a presumably very diplomatic John Gibbons, to jump into the club’s bullpen mix.
Also according to Lott’s piece, the Jays are also returning Brad Lincoln to the bullpen– where he was far more successful last year, after struggling throughout his big league career as a starter. The club had said they planned on stretching him out and keeping him as depth at Buffalo, but it seems as though they’ve remembered he’s Brad Lincoln.
Lott also has an outstanding piece on Colby Rasmus, who likes the atmosphere in the room so far, and contrasts it with last season where, as Lott puts it, “when the going got tough, Farrell’s leadership did not resonate in the clubhouse.” Rasmus explains: “I’m not trying to bash anybody by starting up crap, but I think John Gibbons has got a little bit of a better idea of how to handle it, just because I don’t see him as a guy that’s going to hit that panic button and get tight and into kind of freak-out mode.” Regarding the second half of last season, Rasmus says, “It was just like panic mode, like what are we doing? Everybody looking over their shoulder. It was just a bad feeling.” He adds, “It got a little uncomfortable there – for everybody.” Good luck, Boston.
Emilio Bonifacio starts for the Jays today at shortstop, though maybe it would be better to have him at second base, as Gregor Chisholm writes in a notebook post for BlueJays.com that he’ll need more reps at second if he’s to have any hope of winning the starting job there, as a number of errant throws so far this spring have shown he’s a little rusty.
Mike Wilner recaps yesterday’s win over the Phillies for us over at Sportsnet, and tells us, among other things, about being joined in the booth by Shirley Cheek, following an emotional ovation during a pre-game honour for her late husband, and Hall of Famer, Tom.
And back to Gregor, who has a transcript of R.A. Dickey’s chat with reporters after yesterday’s outing, over at North Of The Border.
Speaking of Dickey, in an interesting dispatch from camp, Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail tells us that one of Mark DeRosa’s first duties as a Blue Jay was to tell the reigning NL Cy Young winner that last year he was tipping his pitches– though it seems only the Washington Nationals picked up on it.
Another Blair piece looks at Brett Lawrie’s comments about Russell Martin’s decision not to play in the WBC, and the Jays’– and every team’s– secret hope that their players would follow ol’ Jussell’s lead, largely because it’s higher energy, meaningful baseball being played “at the stage of spring training where only bad things can happen to players or pitchers.” He also notes R.A. Dickey’s comments saying that he expects J.P. Arencibia will catch him in real games for Team USA. So… y’know… how about that.
And yes, indeed, the Global Honkball Thingamajig is already in full swing, and my colleagues at Getting Blanked– minus one travelling Old Reliable– put up a podcast on Friday to help get you set for it.
And now the lineups…
Toronto Blue Jays
A. Gose CF
M. Cabrera DH
J. Bautista RF
A. Lind 1B
M. DeRosa 3B
R. Davis LF
E. Bonifacio SS
H. Blanco C
M. Izturis 2B
R. Romero LHP
Y. Bettancourt SS
K. Frandsen 3B
C. Utley 2B
R. Howard 1B
D. Ruf LF
D. Brown RF
E. Kratz C
T. Joseph DH
E. Incairte CF
A. Cook RHP