Tag:Blue Jays
Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:07 pm
 

Carlos Silva out of Red Sox fifth starter fight

Carlos SilvaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Silva, a longshot anyway, is out of the competition for the Red Sox fifth starter. The 32-year-old right-hander won't be able to make his scheduled Wednesday start because of shoulder inflammation.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told reporters that Silva will be sidelined long enough to keep him out of running, leaving Vicente Padilla, Aaron Cook, Andrew Miller, Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves for the spot.

Boston won't need a fifth starter until the sixth game of the season, in Toronto on April 11.

Valentine said Silva's arm trouble wasn't exactly a surprise.

"We know exactly what it is and we were hoping it wouldn't present itself as qucikly as it did," Valentine told reporters (Providence Journal).

The Cubs released Silva in spring training last season after going 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA in 2010. He signed with the Yankees last April, but was released after seven starts in the minor leagues. He went 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA at Class A, Double-A and Triple-A. He made four starts at Triple-A where he had a 3.52 ERA and struck out 13 in 23 innings, while giving up 21 hits and four walks.

Right-hander Justin Germano will make the start for the Red Sox against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 12:46 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 12:47 pm
 

Blue Jays' Litsch out after emergency surgery

Jesse LitschBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Blue Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch will miss the start of the season after undergoing an emergency shoulder surgery last week, manager John Ferrell told reporters on Sunday.

Litsch had been bothered by right shoulder inflammation and was given a platelet-rich plasma injection by Dr. James Andrews to help clear up the inflammation. Instead of clearing up the infection, Litsch got an infection and had to have arthroscopic surgery.

Farrell said Litsch will not throw for six weeks.

"There's a small risked when you receive an injection," Farrell said (National Post). "Unfortunately, in this case, he was hit with it."

Litsch, 26, missed a month last season with a shoulder injury. He was 6-3 with a 4.44 ERA in 28 games and eight starts, going 2-0 with a 4.08 ERA and a save as a reliever. He also had a much better strikeout rate as a reliever, recording 30 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings as a reliever and 36 in 46 1/3 as a starter. He was expect to be used out of the bullpen this season.

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Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:43 pm
 

Spring primer: Toronto Blue Jays



By Matt Snyder

The 2011 Blue Jays were 81-81, despite blowing an AL-worst 25 saves. So the task heading into the offseason for general manager Alex Anthopolous was pretty clear: Improve the bullpen. And he did, in trading for Sergio Santos and signing Francisco Cordero, among other upgrades. If the Blue Jays can knock off 10-15 of those blown saves and basically play similarly in every other aspect, they'll have a great shot at one of the two wild card spots. And the good news for the Jays is that they appear a bit better in other aspects than last season, like getting a full season from Brett Lawrie, to name one example.

Major additions: RHP Sergio Santos, RHP Francisco Cordero, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Jason Frasor, OF Ben Francisco, IF Omar Vizquel
Major departures: C Jose Molina, RHP Frank Francisco, RHP Jon Rauch

Probable lineup
1. Yunel Escobar, SS
2. Kelly Johnson, 2B
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Adam Lind, 1B
5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
6. Brett Lawrie, 3B
7. Colby Rasmus, CF
8. Eric Thames, LF
9. J.P. Arencibia, C

Probable rotation
1. Ricky Romero
2. Brandon Morrow
3. Henderson Alvarez
4. Brett Cecil
5. Dustin McGowan

Kyle Drabek is also in the mix.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Sergio Santos
Set-up: Francisco Cordero, Casey Janssen

Important bench players

OF Rajai Davis, OF Ben Francisco, OF Travis Snider, C Jeff Mathis, IF Omar Vizquel

Prospect to watch
Catcher Travis d'Arnaud, one of the players who came over in the Roy Halladay trade, just turned 23 years old and is considered a top 20 prospect in all of baseball. He hit .311/.371/.542 with 21 homers in 114 Double-A games last season. And while Arencibia hit 23 bombs last season, he also had a paltry .219 batting average and .282 on-base percentage. He struck out 133 times while only walking 36. So it's entirely possible he struggles mightily and is replaced by d'Arnaud at some point this season. Or maybe the Jays trade one of them? We'll see, but keep your eye on d'Arnaud's progress. Many believe he's special.

Fantasy sleeper: Henderson Alvarez
"Alvarez wasn't considered a high-profile prospect at this time last year, so understandably, his 10 starts during a late-season trial weren't enough to put him on most Fantasy owners' radars. But consider just how impressive those 10 starts were. Better yet, consider how impressive his final eight were. He pitched at least six innings in each, posting a 3.06 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He also issued only six walks during that stretch. Six. In 53 innings. And this isn't some soft-tosser who took the league by surprise simply by throwing strikes, a la Zach Duke in 2005. Alvarez throws in the mid-90s. He has top-of-the-rotation stuff to go along with a good feel for the strike zone and has already tasted success in the heavy-hitting AL East." - Scott White [Full Blue Jays fantasy team preview]

Fantasy bust: J.P. Arencibia
"Arencibia was one of five catchers to hit 20-plus homers last year, and he did it as a rookie. But before visions of Mike Piazza start dancing in your heads, keep in mind he was especially old for a rookie, turning 25 before the start of the season. He's 26 now, which means he's already in the thick of his prime, which means what you see with him might be exactly what you get. And it's even worse than it looks. Arencibia hit only .219 in 2011, which is discouraging enough, but when you consider he got worse over the course of the season, hitting .199 over the final four months, you have to wonder if his excessive strikeout rate makes him a sitting duck against major-league pitching." - Scott White [Full Blue Jays fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
Morrow has a huge breakout campaign, giving the Jays a potent 1-2 punch in the rotation. Alvarez blossoms into a good No. 3 while Drabek realizes his potential and has a huge second half. Lawrie enters stardom early and Rasmus reaches his potential, making the offense even more potent than before. Plus, the new back-end of the bullpen is dominant. That gets the Blue Jays into the 90s in victories and they win a wild card.

Pessimistic outlook
The Jays just didn't do enough to close the gap, as they still aren't good enough to finish ahead of any of the following, at the very least: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Rangers or Angels. Instead, they're more on the same footing as the Royals and Indians. Thus, it's another fourth-place finish for the Blue Jays, who haven't made the playoffs since 1993.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:46 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 4:46 pm
 

Players, managers react to new playoff format

By Matt Snyder

MLB Playoff expansion
With the news spreading throughout baseball that playoff expansion is very likely for the 2012 season, some reactions from players and managers have started to trickle out of camps. As one would expect on a divisive issue, the reactions are all over the map.

For a very brief recap to those who haven't read about it yet, it's extremely likely that starting this season, MLB will have two wild card teams play one head-to-head game, with the winner advancing to face the division winner with the best record in the LDS. The second and third division winners will face each other. The new collective bargaining agreement established that this system would begin by 2013, but it's likely it will begin this season.

Anyway, here are some of the reactions we've gathered thus far:

Blue Jays manager John Farrell (CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler)

"I think it's great for baseball. Hopefully, we're in the mix to land one of those spots."

Mets third baseman David Wright (Andy McCullough via Twitter)

"That would have been nice five years ago."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (CSNPhilly.com)

“It’s hard to swallow sometimes if you play all year and win a lot of games and somebody who did not play as good as you consistently all year gets in and wins. But that’s the way it goes and that’s the process that we live with.

“I understand everything about that and I’m not knocking that. That’s what it is. But at the same time, I look at it as I’m not a second-place guy or third place or fourth place. Basically that’s the part – for me, personally, you shouldn’t get nothing for second or third. That’s the American system.”

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen (MLB.com)

"Anytime you involve more people, it's good for the game. I think the Commissioner is doing a tremendous job adding people to have a chance to see playoff games, and I think that's great for the fans. This game, we play for them."

Red Sox DH David Ortiz (ESPN Boston)

“One game? That’s kind of crazy. You know how many things we’ve got to move around and pack for one game? It’d make more sense for two wild cards to play at least a two-out-of-three series while the other teams take a break for three days because they won their divisions.”

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (TampaBay.com)

"I think it's exciting. It's exciting for all of us. ... I think the goal was to allow more teams to have a chance in the end, to hold on to those playoff hopes for longer.''

"I think it was pretty unanimous around the league that the more playoff spots the better. Once you get into the playoffs it's more revenue for the ballclub, it's more excitement for the players, so I think it would be a no-brainer for everybody.''

"I don't think anybody's 'comfortable' with [one-game playoff] -- it's an uncomfortable feeling going into any game that you know you could go home, your season could end. But at the same time, it's exciting -- you're in the playoffs now.''

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (MLB.com)

"I'm not for it. I think the elite teams deserve to make it to the playoffs. Pretty soon, Major League Baseball is going to be like the NBA. There will be more teams that make it than don't. The season is too long as it is. Now you're going to give teams more travel. I don't agree with it, but we're just a piece of meat. We do what they tell us to."

Braves backup catcher David Ross (MLB.com)

"I like the one game for all of the marbles kind of thing because it's either put up or shut up," Braves backup catcher David Ross said. "It's going to be fun. The fans are going to be tuned in. It will get a lot of media attention. It will be a lot of fun."

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (ESPN Los Angeles)

"I like it because it forces those two teams to use their best pitcher, so they have to use that guy to get in (to the next round). On paper, that gives the advantage to the team that wins the division because they can line up their rotation the way they want it. It seems fair to me that the team who wins the division gets that advantage.''

White Sox pitcher Chris Sale (ChicagoSports.com)

"Obviously, it’s exciting. Two more teams into the playoffs. At the same time, you want to be one of those teams for sure in there. You want to win the division. "They said it today, you are not playing for second place. It would be great if that did happen, but from here on out, we are going for that No. 1 spot."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura (ChicagoSports.com)

“In the past, when they added (the wild card), it created excitement and even last year, the last day of the season it added fun. You never know. It just depends on how the season goes. But it’s exciting for teams to get in. That’s for sure.”

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:54 pm
 

Bengie Molina officially retires with a party

By Matt Snyder

What, you didn't know that Bengie Molina wasn't retired yet? Hard to blame anyone who didn't, because he did not play at all in 2011. He just had never offically announced his retirement. Saturday night (via CSNBayArea.com), in the form of a retirement party with former Giants teammates, it happened. So he's now off the free agency market.

Molina, 37, retires with a career line of .274/.307/.411 with 144 home runs and 711 RBI in 1,362 regular-season games. He has two World Series rings (he got a ring from the 2010 Giants, even though he was traded July 1 of that season), just like his two brothers, Yadier and Jose. Bengie Molina played for the Angels, Blue Jays, Giants and Rangers. He won the AL Gold Glove in 2002 and 2003, when he was the Angels' starting catcher.

Up next for Molina? Take it away, CSNBayArea.com:
Next up for Molina is some traveling, fishing and enjoying time with his wife and two daughters. He wants to take a trip to see the Olympics in London. Then, in a year or two, he plans to look for a coaching position where he can make an impact. His late father, Benjamin, was deeply invested in youth baseball in Puerto Rico until the day he died of a heart attack in 2008. He was crossing the street with boxes of baseballs in his hands when he collapsed.

“I want to dedicate myself to do what my dad did: teaching kids how to play, and also how to be a better person and how to love their families,” Bengie said. “I’m going to try to pass it on.”

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 5:16 pm
 

Blue Jays work out Cuban OF Jorge Soler

Alex AnthopoulosBy C. Trent Rosecrans

There had been a general consensus that 19-year-old Cuban Jorge Soler was going to sign with the Cubs -- and even one that suggested he had a deal in place -- but that may not be a done deal just yet. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports Soler worked out for Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos and members of the team's front office at the tema's complex in the Dominican Republic.

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And it's not just the Blue Jays that are interested in Soler, as Sanchez adds the Orioles will visit with Soler on Sunday. CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports the Marlins are interested in Soler, while other reports say the Yankees, White Sox and Phillies may also be in the mix.

Unlike recent export Yoenis Cespedes, Soler has yet to establish residency in the Dominican Republic, but has applied. After establishing residency, Soler will need to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and be cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assts Control before he can sign a contract. Cespedes was declared a resident of the Dominican Republic on Jan. 24 and 19 days later he was cleared by the OFAC and signed a four-year, $36 million deal with Oakland.

Soler reportedly has above-average power and projects as either a corner outfielder or first baseman. A right-handed thrower and hitter, Soler is 6-foor-3, 205 pounds and there are some reports that have him running above-average times, others have him an average runner at best. In the end, he's 19 and has plenty of growing to do. Unlike Cespedes, whoever signs Soler won't expect him to contribute to the major league team anytime soon, but in the end, he could be even better than the 26-year-old Cespedes.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:02 pm
 

Blue Jays give Janssen 2-year extension

By Matt Snyder

The Blue Jays have granted relief pitcher Casey Janssen a two-year contract extension worth $5.9 million, the club announced Monday evening. Janssen was set to head to arbitration, so this contract helps avoid that inconvenience. The bigger news, though, is that while Janssen wasn't a free agent, he was set to be one after this season. Now he won't head to free agency until after the 2013 season, though there's also a $4 million option for the 2014 season.

Janssen, 30, was 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings last season. He's spent his entire career with the Blue Jays after being drafted and signed in 2004. In five big-league seasons, Janssen has a 3.81 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.

The Blue Jays added closer Sergio Santos, setup man Francisco Cordero and left-handed specialist Darren Oliver this offseason, so the Janssen extension is just another example of how Toronto general manager Alex Anthopolous has focused on the bullpen. In 2011, the 81-81 Blue Jays blew 25 saves -- tied for the most in the AL -- so getting that issue fixed was obviously of utmost importance.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 8:41 pm
 

Orioles won't add Manny Ramirez

Manny RamirezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Athletics, Blue Jays and Orioles had been said to have interest in Manny Ramirez -- but strike the Orioles from that list.

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Baltimore's Dan Duquette told reporters Friday that the Orioles probably won't be adding Ramirez, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.

"I don't think there's going to be a fit for Manny," Duquette said. "We've looked at that all winter and I'm not sure there's a fit there for the Orioles. I wish Manny a lot of luck, but I just don't think he fits in our ballclub right now."

Duquette said he didn't foresee the Orioles signing any more players before the team starts camp.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com