The WBC is over, the Dominican Republic are "World Champions" and the Jays will have all of their players in camp within a day or two. The Jays have eleven days of spring games left before they head north for the Tuesday home opener. There are few decisions left to be made, basically the backup catcher and the long man in the bullpen. Otherwise the roster is set, the starting pitchers are known, the batting lineup is 90% set with second base the one unknown.
Spring training, up to this point, has had as its objective to get the players in shape, particularly the pitchers arms. Players returning from injury need to be tested. And roles and responsibilities need to be defined.
Results from spring training are notoriously unreliable. But if there is any predictive value to spring training it should come from the final ten days. By this time many of the minor leaguers have been sent to minor league camp where games began this week. Starting pitchers are up to throwing five or six innings and most of the relief pitchers are of major league quality. The games have a greater resemblance to the regular season.
Other than the two positional battles listed above, here is what else I will be looking at over the next ten days?
* Will Casey Janssen be ready for the start of the season?
* Same question for Brett Lawrie
* How will Adam Lind hit against decent pitching? Lind started spring training well, can his new "yogafied" body deliver results at the end of the spring? Can Lind hit the better lefty pitchers?
* Can Ricky Romero throw strikes? Will he speed up his pitching, do a Buehrle, as suggested by John Gibbons? Or will the "tweak" to his motion pay off?
* Is Colby Rasmus rounding into form? His progress earlier in the spring was slowed by a shoulder injury.
* Is Mark Buehrle ready to get hitters out?
Ricky Romero's next start is projected to be in a minor league game so we may not know much until his last start at the end of spring training.
The Dominican crew should be back in camp tomorrow. They might not play until Friday. Then the final push will be underway.
The Jays record this spring is not good but as we know from previous years that means nothing. Last year the Jays had a great spring training and that led to their worst regular season in years.
Roll on the regular season.