The Afternoon Snack is now The Daily Duce– all the latest must-read Jays links, fully Rob Ducey-fied…
Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun looks at the family history of Josh Johnson, who could have played for Canada in the World Baseball Classic, and says he’d consider doing so in 2017, as a tribute to his father, who is from Calgary. “Now, we’d have felt a whole lot better about this — and so would Baseball Canada director of national teams Greg Hamilton — had we found this out months ago, before the World Baseball Classic,” Elliott writes. If only DJF were more influential, maybe they’d have spotted it here back at the end of November.
Elsewhere in the Sun, Mike Rutsey looks at Johnson’s outing last week, and the sinking two-seamer he introduced to his arsenal during the game– a pitch Kevin Youkilis crushed in the first inning, but that may prove an additional weapon for a guy forced now to deal with life as a pitcher incapable of sitting in the high-90s, as he did at his peak.
In another piece, Rutsey talks to Ricky Romero after yet another shaky outing, and passes on word of a tender shoulder holding back Brad Lincoln. Ruh-roh!
Scott Miller of CBS Sports takes a dip into the ol’ Romero-Happ debate, and characterizes J.A. Happ’s comments in perhaps a softer way than some of those who insist he’s shooting his mouth off to the detriment of the team might believe. He’s kind of just answering questions honestly, and insisting that whatever happens will be dealt with in private.
At the very least Happ’s comments are ambiguous to not deserve nonsense like the insistence that he’s “whining. And crying. And moaning. And he needs to shut up and recognize the reality of his situation,” as we see over at Bluebird Banter. Honestly, what has he really said that’s so offensive?
Chris Toman writes at gamereax about the health of the Jays’ key relievers, which remains a question mark at this point in camp– though Sergio Santos insists he’s ready for Opening Day.
Speaking of Santos and readiness, Mike Wilner writes at Sportsnet that the presumed closer feels great and that Casey Janssen “did throw live batting practice earlier in the week, and reported no problems at all, but he’s still a few days away from getting into the controlled environment of a minor-league game, and isn’t likely to see much, if any, Grapefruit League action so that the Blue Jays can backdate a stint on the disabled list as far as possible in order to have him be available as early as they can in the regular season.”
In another post-game post, Wilner writes about Brandon Morrow’s outing yesteday, and the struggles he had with the slider. “Once he realized that the slider wasn’t working, Morrow did what any rational pitcher would do in a spring training game: ‘I just kept throwing it, trying to get it to break, trying to get it to do what I wanted. It just wouldn’t do it today. But that’s what we’re here for, to keep throwing those pitches, get it where we want it and I’ll keep doing it until I get it to where I need it to be.’ ”
Switching back to gamereax, Chris talks to a freshly-booed Jussell Martin, who says he was ready for the reaction he got from Canadian fans, following his refusal to play in the WBC as a catcher.
Tom Maloney of the Globe and Mail looks at the holes remaining on the Jays roster, as we sit about two weeks away from Opening Day.
Bruce Arthur of the National Post looks at the limitless possibilities that are sitting in front of the Toronto Blue Jays this season. He also looks at the plight of Ricky Romero, who is trying to find himself all over again.
Elsewhere in the Post, John Lott looks at what should be a critical week for Casey Janssen’s recovery, and also suggests that the club may end up rotating second basemen Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio, and that Dustin McGowan will likely open the season on the Disabled List.
Lott also writes a lengthy piece about Mark Buehrle, for whom, the title says, success didn’t come easy.
Tom Maloney of the Globe also wrote about Izturis and Bonifacio, who are helping to diversify the Jays’ offence. “I love Bonifacio,” Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said this weekend. “If they don’t know it yet, they’ve got a gem. It doesn’t matter where he plays, he can impact a game defensively in about four spots.”
Mike Rutsey of the Sun also writes about the second basemen, and also Adam Lind, who is facing a pivotal season with the club, and, we’re told– though not in so many words– is in the best shape of his life.
John Gibbons serves some red meat to the Pittsburghs, suggesting to Rob Beirtempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Travis Snider’s career path could still mirror Jose Bautista’s. Hard to imagine that happening with him either sitting on the bench in place of Rajai Davis here this season– and otherwise, let’s not forget, he’d have been lost for nothing on waivers, or dealt for less, even, than Brad Lincoln.
Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star looks at the spring struggles of Roy Halladay.
Elsewhere at the Star, Richard Griffin has a new Bullpen post up, looking at team Puerto Rico as inspiration for Canada, answering reader questions in a chat, looking at fantasy rankings, talking to R.A. Dickey, and ranting about why the Reds are trying to get as much value as possible out of Aroldis Chapman, rather than wasting him in the bullpen.
The Tao of Stieb continues his 30-odd Jays in a similar number of days thing with a look at Brett Cecil.
Extra Base Hit takes a look at the spring stats so far of several ex-Jays.
Jays Journal suggests selling awfully low on Ricky Romero– or perhaps they’re suggesting just getting something for him before his value craters entirely. Personally, I take the gamble that he gets back to something resembling productivity, rather than paying his salary and taking back a reliever for him, or whatever else is being suggested– not that anyone with any kind 2012 aspirations would trade for him at this point anyway.
We talked on last week’s DJF Podcast about some insightful comments from Brandon McCarthy about the whole clubhouse chemistry thing. They’re definitely worth a read, as are Jay Jaffe’s attempt to digest them over at Sports Illustrated.
Buster Olney writes at ESPN.com (Insider Olney) about the struggles of Roy Halladay. He also has one on the expanding repetwah of Josh Johnson, which I’ll discuss in more detail later today or tomorrow.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes was in Jays camp, and you can see a preview for the segment they’ll do on the visit this week over at their Facebook page.
Lastly, the Washington Post is one of many publications to have an obituary for Ruth Ann Steinhagen, one of the first celebrity stalkers, and the inspiration for The Natural, after her near-fatal 1949 shooting of Cubs first baseman Eddie Waitkus.