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Toronto Blue Jays Roster Report 2009-03-21


Toronto Blue Jays Roster Report 2009-03-21
The Blue Jays lost a key figure in their rotation with the departure of RHP A.J. Burnett to the Yankees and have three open spots to fill in back of RHP Roy Halladay and RHP Jesse Litsch. It will be a wide-open contest for a host of candidates, including recovering veterans such as RHP Matt Clement and Mike Maroth.

ARRIVALS: LHP Brian Burres (waiver claim from Orioles), OF Jason Lane (free agent from Red Sox), INF/OF Brandon Fahey (free agent from Orioles), LHP Mike Maroth (free agent), C Raul Chavez (free agent from Pirates), C Michael Barrett (free agent from Padres), 1B/DH Randy Ruiz (free agent from Twins), RHP Matt Clement (free agent), SS Angel Sanchez (waiver claim from Royals), RHP Bryan Bullington (waiver claim from Indians), RHP Adam Loewen (free agent from Orioles), INF Kevin Millar (minor league free agent from Orioles).

DEPARTURES: LHP John Parrish, (free agent, signed with Orioles), OF Brad Wilkerson (free agent, signed with Red Sox), C Gregg Zaun (free agent, signed with Orioles), LHP Mike Gosling (free agent, signed with Twins), INF Hector Luna (free agent, signed with Dodgers), SS Pedro Lopez (free agent, signed with Pirates), LHP Gustavo Chacin (free agent, signed with Nationals), RHP A.J. Burnett (free agent, signed with Yankees), OF Mike Vento (free agent, signed with Nationals), OF Kevin Mench (free agent, signed with Japanese team).

PROJECTED ROTATION:

1. RHP Roy Halladay

2. RHP Jesse Litsch

3. LHP David Purcey

4. RHP Casey Janssen

5. RHP Matt Clement

The Blue Jays need LHP David Purcey to solidify the third spot. Purcey, a No. 1 pick in the 2004 June draft (16th overall), was 3-6 in 12 starts last season. He needs to step it up.

RHP Casey Janssen missed 2008 after requiring shoulder surgery, and the Blue Jays are counting on him being healthy enough to fill a spot.

The Blue Jays also hope that either RHP Matt Clement or LHP Mike Maroth is healthy and can contribute.

The rotation should receive a boost in late May or early June when RHP Dustin McGowan, who had shoulder surgery, is expected to return.

PROJECTED BULLPEN:

LHP B.J. Ryan (closer)

RHP Brandon League

RHP Jeremy Accardo

LHP Scott Downs

LHP Jesse Carlson

RHP Jason Frasor

LHP Brian Tallet

The Blue Jays' bullpen last year had the lowest ERA in the American League and once again should be one of the team's strengths. It has excellent balance from the left and right. RHP Jeremy Accardo made only 16 appearances last season because of right forearm issues, and his return to health would be a bonus to a solid group. With the rotation in a state of flux, the relievers will have to soak up more innings.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

1. SS Marco Scutaro

2. DH Adam Lind

3. CF Vernon Wells

4. 1B Lyle Overbay

5. RF Alex Rios

6. 3B Scott Rolen

7. C Rod Barajas

8. LF Travis Snider

9. 2B Aaron Hill

The big question is whether Travis Snider, 21, can handle the left field duties on an everyday basis. He had a good September, batting .301, and showed plenty of poise despite his youth.

The Blue Jays don't have a legitimate leadoff hitter, and SS Marco Scutaro wins the spot by default. For that matter, the Blue Jays don't have a legitimate cleanup hitter, either.

Manager Cito Gaston is counting on three veterans -- 1B Lyle Overbay, 3B Scott Rolen and CF Vernon Wells -- to return to form. Gaston also expects RF Alex Rios to have a 30-plus home run season.

PROJECTED RESERVES:

C Michael Barrett

INF/OF Jose Bautista

INF John McDonald

INF/OF Joe Inglett

Because of injuries, Inglett received a lot of playing time (109 games) last season, but if 2B Aaron Hill shows he has fully recovered from post-concussion syndrome, Inglett's playing time will be greatly reduced. McDonald will spot Scutaro at short and will come in as a late inning replacement. Barrett was acquired to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Gregg Zaun.

Bautista is insurance in the event that 3B Scott Rolen and his shoulder problems continue. Bautista can also spell Lyle Overbay at first base against tough left-handers. Ditto for DH Adam Lind.

TOP ROOKIES: LF Travis Snider showed poise and ability when called up in September -- he hit .301 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 73 at-bats. Only 21, Snider zoomed through the system after opening the year at Class A Dunedin. He is tabbed to be the starting left fielder. LHP Brett Cecil, a sandwich pick (38th overall) in the 2007 June draft, was impressive in last year's spring camp and followed it up by going 6-2, 2.55 in 18 starts at Class AA New Hampshire and 2-3, 4.11 in six starts at Class AAA Syracuse. He has an outside shot at cracking the rotation out of spring training but also could be a midseason addition.

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Dustin McGowan (right shoulder surgery for labrum fraying) is expected to be able to return in June.

RHP Shaun Marcum (Tommy John elbow surgery) will miss the 2009 season.

CF Vernon Wells (left hamstring) was hurt in drills on Feb. 23. He might make his spring training debut March 20.

RHP Brian Wolfe received (right shoulder inflammation) was hurt while pitching March 10. He received a cortisone shot and was day-to-day.

3B Scott Rolen (back stiffness) came out of the March 18 game. He is day-to-day.

RHP Casey Janssen (right shoulder tightness) had to leave his start March 19 after facing only four batters. The early diagnosis was that there is no structural damage and the injury is not related to the surgery on his torn labrum that wiped out his 2008 season.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 21, 2009

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