The Jays host the Pirates this afternoon in yet another game of baseball-ish, as the march towards Opening Day continues. Perhaps the player who holds the key to the 2014 Blue Jays season more than any other, Brandon Morrow, will be on this hill, and Mike Wilner tweets that he’s scheduled for three innings. Morrow, you’ll remember, was kinda terrible when he was able to get himself on the field last season, so we’ll all be watching — er… listening — closely to see how well he does, how comfortable he looks, and if there are the kinds of hints we want to see that he’s returning to the form that saw him post a 2.96 ERA in 2012 — good for 12th in all of baseball among pitchers with 120 innings or more, though… the peripherals weren’t quite as good, and… y’know… only 120 innings.
Aaron Sanchez will get into this one too! Plus Santos, Loup, Jeffress, and Jenkins, per yet another tweet from Wilner.
Hey and the Great White Hope is in the house!
Yes, unfortunately this game is an audio-only one. Can’t imagine what Sportsnet might otherwise be airing. Though, actually, don’t they have like a billion channels or something? I don’t work there, so I have no idea what the exact number is. Anywho, the Jays have provided a handy graphic to help guide you through the hoops required in order to listen to the club’s spring broadcasts for free. So don’t say they’ve never done anything for you.
Looking forward to hearing Joe Siddall on the airwaves for the first time. He’ll be calling today’s action with Mike Wilner. Here’s a great, touching piece from the Windsor Star on Siddall and his grieving family, who last month lost their 14-year-old son to cancer.
Another Wilner tweet tells us that the Jays have sent some players to minor league camp: Luis Perez (who’ll start the year on the DL, he says), Derrick Chung, and Parkdale’s Jack Murphy.
If there is failure in Ryan Goins’ future, writes Gregor Chisholm at BlueJays.com, it’s not going to be through lack of work ethic. And good on him, I say! I hope it works out for him, and for the Jays, I just… y’know… think it’s a rather terrible decision to not aim higher.
Behind the paywall at Baseball America is some great praise from Ben Badler for the Jays’ free agent acquisitions on the Latin American amateur market this year — continuing a trend that is a welcome change from the J.P. Ricciardi era.
After yesterday’s outing, Scott MacArthur tweets some comments from R.A. Dickey, who feels great compared to last year, in terms of health (he’s said that a twinge that began in the spring of 2013 became the back and neck issue that plagued his first half of the season), and in particular on some high, hard knucklers he reared back to throw. He hopes to throw more than 100 pitches twice before opening day, MacArthur adds.
MacArthur also had a one-on-one with Pete Walker at TSN.ca. Read it.
Great stuff from John Lott of the National Post about Colby Rasmus and the changes he made that made him an elite big leaguer in 2013 — and could lead him to a massive payday at the end of this year.
Lastly, in a notebook post at BlueJays.com, Gregor tells us that the Jays are saying J.A. Happ’s spot in the Jays’ rotation isn’t in jeopardy because of two tough starts. I get that — he didn’t pitch as bad as his line looked during his spring debut a week ago in Clearwater — but I also get the wariness that Jays fans have about him and why the Jays seem so intent to believe in useless September data and mechanical changes that… might be real? I don’t know. Someone asked me on Twitter the other day who I’d like to see as the Jays fourth and fifth starters and I answered Drew Hutchison and Ervin Santana. I stand by that. But I also think Happ can be a lot better than the gloomiest of fans want to believe, so… there’s that.
And now the lineups…
Toronto Blue Jays
2B Chris Getz (L)
LF Steve Tolleson (R)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
DH Josh Thole (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)
SS Jonathan Diaz (R)
RHP Brandon Morrow
LF Starling Marte (R)
CF Chris Dickerson (L)
DH Neil Walker (S)
1B Gaby Sanchez (R)
RF Travis Snider (L)
3B Brent Morel (R)
C Tony Sanchez (R)
2B Josh Harrison (R)
SS Clint Barmes (R)
RHP Jay Jackson