The Jays are in Minnesota to take on the Twins here on Jackie Robinson Day– the 67th anniversary of Robinson’s first game in the major leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers, following an astonishing (.349/.468/.462!) single season in this country with the Montreal Royals.
Sadly, I don’t have the time to write out all the thoughts I have on why this is such an important day, and something that baseball actually, somehow, manages to do right by continuing to celebrate. Sure, the league is sort of patting itself on the back for being the incubator for a powerful story of perseverance and humanity overcoming hate in the midst of an era where basic civil rights of the kind that it’s so easy for so many of us to simply take for granted needed to be fought for — the kind of story that both transcends sports and underscores the power that sport can have to effect change and impart powerful ideas to broader society — when the reality is that it was baseball’s own racist policies that were being broken down. But I suppose that they don’t hide from that is itself a signal of progress — not that they really ever had a choice.
But… well… this isn’t about the league itself anyway, nor is it about the long way that the world still has to go, despite 67 years of that progress. It’s about the triumph of what’s decent and right, and a celebration of a man who, to make the world a better place, faced more pressure and vitriol than any man should, as one of the faces of a struggle for a people that faced imposed disadvantages and hatred more than any people should, and simultaneously for the basic right to freedom for all people.
There’s no more important figure in the game, and like I say, MLB surprisingly actually gets this one right.
It is cold in Minnesota in April. Think you might hear about this a couple more times before the game is over.
The Jays announced today that Jeremy Jeffress has cleared waivers and been assigned to Buffalo — meaning that the eight-man bullpen thing worked… the first time. Guess we’re doing it again, though. Marcus Walden was D’d FA in order to make room on the 40-man for Munenori Kawasaki, who we’d known since Sunday was on his way up — and he is indeed with the team tonight, bizarrely starting in the two-spot (though at least he’ll take some pitches and maybe get on base, right? Right???). (Note: Drew nailed it.)
Another lineup note: Colby Rasmus sits tonight with a tight hamstring — which he was removed from Sunday’s game for. Makes sense given the cold, and the fact that if he were to do something to make it worse, they couldn’t retroactively DL him. Best to just wait until it’s right. Especially since, even though they’re 6-6, judging by their lineup, I have no idea how these Twins have managed to win a game.
Scott MacArthur adds that he spoke to Colby, who says his hamstring is feeling much better, and that he hopes to play tomorrow. Brendan Kennedy tweets that John Gibbons also notes that Moises Sierra has hit Phil Hughes better in a small sample, as well, so… y’know… microsplits. (FYRE GOBBONS!!!!!!)
About that, though. Gregor Chisholm tweets that Gibbons says that with more cold forecast for tomorrow, don’t be surprised if Colby gets another day off.
Better news: Kennedy also tweets that Jose Reyes is now scheduled to play for Dunedin tonight and tomorrow, and the Blue Jays on Friday in Cleveland, barring setback. That’ll play.
One more from Kennedy, who adds that Casey Janssen doesn’t have as structured a rehab program as yet — he’ll throw 25 pitches today and they’ll take it from there.
Janssen is throwing, and @stivbators tells us that various guns have his fastball at 86-88. Yeesh.
J.A. Happ still thinks he’s a starter, and isn’t particularly thrilled with being in the bullpen. Fair enough, it’s just, y’know, pitch your way out of it, then.
“Fans of an outdoor stadium in Toronto should heed this week’s attendance in Minnesota,” tweets @mattomic. “From 5° to -1 with chance of flurries each game.” (See, I told you that you might hear about this.)
Padres reporter Corey Brock tweets that Josh Johnson has an upcoming visit with Dr. James Andrews, while Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported last night that Rays pitcher Matt Moore will have Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.
Next game: Tomorrow, 8:10 PM ET, @ Minnesota
For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.
And now, the lineups…
Toronto Blue Jays
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
CF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
SS Ryan Goins (L)
RHP Brandon Morrow
2B Brian Dozier (R)
1B Joe Mauer (L)
3B Trevor Plouffe (R)
RF Chris Colabello (R)
LF Jason Kubel (L)
DH Josmil Pinto (R)
C Kurt Suzuki (R)
CF Aaron Hicks (S)
SS Pedro Florimon (S)
RHP Phil Hughes