Toronto Blue Jays reliever Frank Francisco made the dreaded visit to Dr. James Andrews in Alabama, and the news was actually good, er, well, goodish.  The pain that the team’s closer was feeling was confirmed to be due to bicep tendonitis and tightness in his pectoral muscles.  It sounds bad, but it means that there’s no structural damage, and Francisco will be able to start a throwing program this weekend.

According to Blue Jays manager John Farrell:

Similar to what we’ve diagnosed all along, it’s been tightness in the right pec, a small amount of inflammation in the right biceps. He’ll start with a throwing program on Sunday. It looks like right now he’s not going to be ready to go at the start of the season. We’ll have a better read on that once he gets back into a throwing program. We look at this as a short-term thing even though the short term doesn’t have him active with us.

While that’s ultimately good news for Toronto, in all likelihood it also means that Francisco will be unavailable to start the season.  So, look for the also newly acquired Jon Rauch to get the first save opportunities of the Spring for the Blue Jays.

Fortunately for the Jays, the other guy — Jon Rauch — is in robust health. He is also flying under the radar, if that is possible for the tallest player in baseball history: In six one-inning appearances, the 6-foot-11, 290-pound right-hander has allowed two hits and no runs.

Some Bonds Some Of The Time

If live updates of courtroom proceedings on the other side of the continent is your thing, there are a couple of Twitter feeds you can follow for the latest updates from the Barry Bonds trial: Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle and SB Nation Bay Area have both been doing an excellent job with their coverage.

Highlights from the day after jury selection included Bonds’ trainer Gregg Anderson once again refusing to testify and once again being sent back to prison, as well as testimony from controversial figure and garbage digger Jeff Novitzky.

Joe Posnanski also weighs in:

Here’s what I think most people believe: Barry Bonds used steroids to become a better baseball player. He, reportedly, does not even deny this. He does claim — and claimed before a grand jury — that he did not KNOWINGLY take steroids. To think that Barry Bonds took steroids, but not knowingly, seems ridiculous, absurd on its face, and it seems an insult to the question and the people asking it. For seven years now the U.S. government has been trying to nail him for this unconvincing bit of nonsense.

So, on the one hand you have someone who is probably lying — and obviously we should not stand for people lying to grand juries. On the other, you have what seems an extreme use of government power and money and shaky methods to nail him for this lie. Supposedly at some point during this trial we are going to get a spurned girlfriend telling the court all about Barry Bonds’ sex life and mood swings. The whole thing feels unseemly.

And The Rest

The Yankees are considering sending Jesus Montero to Triple A to start the season even though he’s the greatest baseball prospect since sliced bread.

Jon Morosi proves that baseball players are about as smart as you’d imagine them to be when he issues a very unscientific survey among them asking who is the best baseball player.

I care more about the Chicago White Sox catering than the fact that Adam Dunn has struck out 22 times in 53 Spring Training at bats.  It’s cause for about as much concern as slightly stale pita bread in the team’s packed lunches.

Sticking with the uselessness of Spring Training, here’s an article about the economics of baseball’s preseason.

The New York Times has footage of Babe Ruth being Babe Ruth.

Beyond The Boxscore looks at the longest game in MLB’s history.

Kevin Slowey lost out on the Twins’ rotation and will pitch out of the bullpen, at least until Nick Blackburn loses his spot or a trade occurs for some relief help.

Baseball Reference looks at “quality start” losses from last season.

FanGraphs explains why we should be cautious with Lineup Analysis Tools.

Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus is Phiten the good fight.

Luis Castillo explains that he never got a fair shake in the New York Mets’ training camp this Spring, as he looks to turn things around with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Super agent Scott Boras will be the keynote speaker at the Society For American Baseball Research’s conference in July.

Placating your inner nerd: Park factors!

Mookie Wilson has his own blog.

Comments (10)

  1. Is Rauch gonna be the next guy where every story about him must reference the same fact? It’s like how every story about Mark Zuckerburg states how young he is.
    The Bonds thing is a lose-lose situation in my books, nobody’s coming off looking good.
    Remember all that hype when sliced bread was coming up through the minors? Then he was cut and tore to pieces (yay for terrible puns).

  2. Hey! Sliced Bread is a toolsy kid with advanced makeup, don’t you sully his name.

  3. I can’t imagine hitting against Rauch. Crap, hitting against a soft-throwing 6’4″ pitcher in high school scared the crap out of me. The ball would basically be coming at you from eight feet off the mound with Rauch.

    Too bad he’s not a starter. Always wanted the Jays to have their own version of the Big Unit.

  4. The fact that Frank Franc won’t be ready to start the season looks like good news for the rest of the bullpen crew. It will give the Jays an extra two weeks or so (assuming a DL stint for Frank Franc) to sort through the extra arms like Reyes, Rzepcynski, Janssen and pick a loser based on real action against real major leaguers.

  5. Yeah, having injuries to Francisco and possibly Dotel might actually be a blessing in disguise for a team with way more qualified candidates than roster spots.

    The Baseball Prospectus farm system rankings came out today and the Jays are 4th. It’s great to see them mentioned in the same breath with the best systems in baseball, and it seems like every ranking has them coming out somewhere near the top.

    AA said some really interesting things in the FAN 590 interview that Stoeten transcribed at DJF that I think really play into the whole “Extra 2%” kind of idea. Like how he doesn’t want mess around with guys by manipulating their service time clocks, because everybody does that and agents don’t like it. It’s an interesting way to gain an extra edge maybe in the future… having a reputation as an organization that treats players well would definitely help when it comes to attracting prospects or free agents. It’s pretty awesome to have that kind of thinking in the front office.

  6. Lind and Patterson say the two best players in the game are Ichiro and Hamilton?
    I don’t find the argument for Hamilton much better than the one for Bautista while Ichiro… my god, what are these guys smoking?

  7. But doobdude, Ichiro! can aspode the earth with frakking thundabolts from RF!

    I’m not sure what the team’s doing with Rzep in the bullpen. Isn’t he way more valuable developing as a starter in the minors? Esp. with Reyes and Purcey out of options.

  8. Kevin – Rzepczynski is already 25 years old. His development is done. He is what he is at this point. The real question is how does he provide value to the Jays?

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