The big news out of Blue Jays camp today is not of the good variety. Jesse Litsch was shut down late last week due to shoulder soreness but was not expected to miss much time. A simple anti-inflammatory shot in the sore spot and he’d be good to go in a few days. That shot however did far more harm than good; it caused an infection and Litsch had to have emergency surgery to remove said infection and will miss roughly six weeks.
The 26-year-old Litsch seemed to find his way last season once the Jays moved him to the bullpen full time. Even though John Farrell used his almost as if he was a lefty specialist, his numbers were far better against righties:
vs. LHH: 177 TBF, 16.4 K%, 11.3 BB%, 4.36 xFIP
vs. RHH: 140 TBF, 26.4 K%, 5.7 BB%, 2.74 xFIP
If used properly, Litsch has the potential to be a useable bullpen piece but this will definitely make it harder for him to make the team once he’s healthy. Litsch missed two months of last season with shoulder problems and missed almost all of 2009 and 2010 recovering from Tommy John’s surgery.
And the rest:
ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark thinks the Jays could be a legitimate contender this season if everything breaks right.
The Detroit Tigers are apparently still interested in adding a starting pitcher via trade before the regular season starts. I know I give the Tigers a lot of grief over their questionable roster construction, but this is another example of why I give them so much grief. Despite the possibility of starting the season with an outfield of Delmon Young, Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch, the Tigers feel what they need is another starting pitcher.
The Tigers already have Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello penciled in with one of their prospects taking the fifth spot. It doesn’t make much sense to me that the Tigers would trade for a starter to take big-league innings away from Jacob Turner, who seems most likely to take the fifth spot. It makes even less sense that they would trade away Turner considering he’s really the only high ceiling pitching prospect in their system. If you’re going to trade for someone, trade for an outfielder who can actually hit or play defense.
Ike Davis, like totally has Valley Fever!* Apparently, the illness rarely shows any symptoms and Davis says he feels totally fine. He’ll be treated and shouldn’t miss any time. So, is this really news?
Theo Epstein is laying down the law on the North Side. Boys will be boys, after all.
Free agent lefty Mike Gonzalez has reportedly turned down a non-roster invite from the Texas Rangers. The 34-year-old Gonzalez had a 3.73 xFIP in 53.1 innings between Baltimore and Texas in 2011. Gonzalez is by no means a dominating pitcher like he was earlier in his career, but he is still excellent against lefties, posting a 2.65 xFIP against them. It’s slightly curious that he has yet to be picked up.
ESPN Insiders can read Keith Law’s thoughts on his first game of the Spring. He watched Colorado and Arizona play in Scottsdale and got to witness 2011 third overall pick Trevor Bauer and 2010 top-five pick Drew Pomeranz duel in the desert.
Also for Insiders, the Stats & Info blog on ESPN takes a closer look at MLB’s playoff expansion.
*May not be an original joke