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News » Toronto Blue Jays Roster Report 2009-03-29


Toronto Blue Jays Roster Report 2009-03-29


Toronto Blue Jays Roster Report 2009-03-29
The Blue Jays have question marks in the back end of their rotation and are concerned about closer B.J. Ryan's lack of velocity. They have put a heavy burden on their offense to overcome their pitching deficiencies. They look to come out of the gate in April swinging from the heels. A good April is critical.

ROTATION:

1. RHP Roy Halladay

2. RHP Jesse Litsch

3. LHP David Purcey

4. RHP Scott Richmond

5. LHP Brad Mills

ROTATION ANALYSIS: The Blue Jays have a true ace in Roy Halladay, while Jesse Litsch (13-9, 3.58) inherited the No. 2 spot because of the loss of A.J. Burnett and injuries to Dustin McGowan and Shawn Marcum. After that, it's a crapshoot and figures to be something of a rotating door throughout the season.

LHP Brad Mills has never pitched beyond Class AA and has logged only 165 1/3 innings in the minor leagues. The Blue Jays know they are rushing him, but because of injuries have little choice. He has a funky, over-the-top delivery.

Waiting in the wings is RHP Casey Janssen, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and should be ready by the end of April. Rookie LHPs Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil also are likely to get looks this season.

BULLPEN:

LHP B.J. Ryan (closer)

LHP Scott Downs

RHP Brandon League

LHP Jesse Carlson

LHP Brian Tallet

RHP Jason Frasor

RHP Jeremy Accardo

BULLPEN ANALYSIS: The Blue Jays are disturbed about Ryan's diminished velocity and are hopeful he can regain it by the time the season starts. If not, they'll have to go with a closer-by-committee approach. The problem for manager Cito Gaston is to keep the 'pen fresh -- the lack of experience among the final three starters figures to put added pressure and innings on what is perceived as a team strength.

If Ryan's problems persist through April, the Blue Jays probably will counter with League and Downs in a right-left scenario. Carlson was magnificent in 2008 and could jump into the late inning mix as well. Last year, the Blue Jays' bullpen had the lowest ERA in the league.

LINEUP:

1. SS Marco Scutaro

2. 2B Aaron Hill

3. DH Adam Lind

4. CF Vernon Wells

5. RF Alex Rios

6. 1B Lyle Overbay

7. 3B Scott Rolen

8. C Rod Barajas

9. LF Travis Snider

LINEUP ANALYSIS: Ideally, manager Cito Gaston prefers a set lineup, believing stability adds to results. However, beyond the 1-2 spots and Wells batting cleanup, a lot could change depending on results. Overbay, if he's not productive, could be platooned with Kevin Millar, while Rolen will be spelled by Jose Bautista to keep his left shoulder fresh.

Big things are expected of Rios in regards to home runs, average and RBI. Snider will open the season batting ninth, but if he gets hot, with his power he could move up the order in a hurry.

The Blue Jays do not have a full-time DH. Lind will see the bulk of the duty, but that spot will be rotated with up to seven players moving in and out of the position depending on matchups and to get others playing time.

RESERVES:

C Michael Barrett

INF John McDonald

INF/OF Kevin Millar

INF/OF Jose Bautista

RESERVES ANALYSIS: In the past, manager Cito Gaston didn't go to his bench often, but with Millar and Bautista he has some right-handed pop and will put that to use if Overbay doesn't get off to a quick start. McDonald will be a late inning replacement for Scutaro at shortstop and will bump Scutaro to second on days Gaston wants to rest Aaron Hill. The Blue Jays plan to play Barajas five days a week, leaving one or two to Barrett. But if Barajas gets hot -- and he's a streaky hitter -- Barrett might be sitting more than planned.

ROOKIE WATCH: RHP Scott Richmond was 1-3 in five starts after being called up on July 30 last year. At 29, the Blue Jays like his poise and consistency. LHP Brad Mills, a fourth-round pick in 2007, has made the jump despite not pitching beyond Class AA, where he made only six starts last year. In 31 minor league starts over two seasons, Mills went 15-5 with a 1.96 ERA. LF Travis Snider, only 21, was a first-round high school pick in 2006. He is mature for his age and has tremendous power. With the rotation a question mark, it would be no surprise if both LHP Ricky Romero and LHP Brett Cecil get a look-see at some point this season.

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Casey Janssen (torn labrum) missed all of 2008. Counted on to be part of the starting rotation, Janssen suffered a setback in mid-March when he felt muscle tightness in back of his right shoulder. He is expected to be back with the club in early May.

RHP Dustin McGowan (shoulder surgery) is a little behind in his recovery. Initially, he was expected to be able to contribute by mid-June at the latest, but it appears that a late July date is a best-case scenario.

RHP Shawn Marcum (right elbow surgery) is ahead of schedule. Initially, the Blue Jays didn't expect him back until 2010. Now they say he could be back by August.

2B Aaron Hill (post-concussion syndrome) didn't play a game after colliding with David Eckstein on May 29. He has shown no signs of a relapse and is expected to be the everyday second baseman in 2009.

CF Vernon Wells suffered a pulled hamstring Feb. 23 and was eased back into the lineup in the final weeks of spring training. He's ready to go Opening Day in center field but will also be spotted from time to time as the designated hitter.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 29, 2009

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