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The headline on Spencer Fordin's latest update reads "Jays Ready for Spring Opener". It's an appropriate day to be stepping into the all-new Batter's Box.

Roy Halladay will take the mound against Tampa Bay, and manager Carlos Tosca also plans to look at Pete Walker, Trever Miller, Evan Thomas, Mike Smith and Brian Bowles in the opener.

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Coach - Saturday, March 01 2003 @ 08:20 AM EST (#95234) #
Here's the latest from Richard Griffin: "Spring flinging starts for real".

Gruff Griff doesn't fling innuendo or resentment; his last dozen or so columns have been quite palatable. The venom's gone, but there are some clever lines; he calls Carlos Tosca "a Cuban-American version of Earl Weaver", and says the skipper's "not expecting his fundamentally challenged players to split the atom right away."

The column is mostly about Chris Woodward, who has this to say about his backup SS, Mike Bordick:

"I've always thought I was the kind of player he was. Just the way he played, I kind of patterned myself after him. Me and Butter (coach Brian Butterfield) would go out early and watch him take infield. Now that he's with us, I've been trying to pick his brain the last couple of days."

Amazing. A big league player who cares enough about his own development to watch someone else practice. I'm bullish on Woody, as you know. Griffin also mentions "reported three-year offers GM J.P. Ricciardi has made to future cornerstone players Vernon Wells and Eric Hinske", which I sincerely hope is more accurate than his previous "inside" scoops on the training camp battles at C and lefty reliever. Locking up Hinske, Wells and Halladay would make me consider getting a full-colour Blue Jays tattoo, maybe covering my left eye -- the old, classy logo, not the new T-bird.
Craig B - Saturday, March 01 2003 @ 08:56 AM EST (#95235) #
Ah, spring.

Apparently, Barry Bonds deposited his first pitch from Mark Prior over the fence, and it might have gone 400+ feet were it not for a light pole that got in the way. Nice to see that old age and guile and legendary power can still trump youth and enthusiasm and legendary power.

Apparently, FAN 590 will carry the Tampa game... incidentally, all the spring games are free on the audio service.
Craig B - Saturday, March 01 2003 @ 08:59 AM EST (#95236) #
Forgot one thing... I was listening to the Royals and Rangers yesterday and the Royals radio guys mentioned a game that the Rangers had played the previous day against the University of Texas. Apparently, in the first inning the Longhorns pitcher had struck out A-Rod... naturally provoking a pretty wide smile from the youngster.

In A-Rod's second at-bat, he hit it 525 feet.
_Matthew Elmslie - Saturday, March 01 2003 @ 12:17 PM EST (#95237) #
Anyone else spot the P.J. O'Rourke reference from Craig there?
_Justin B. - Saturday, March 01 2003 @ 08:07 PM EST (#95238) #
First Blue Jay boxscore for the year!

Listened to the game on MLB radio, pretty uneventful. Between Huckaby and Moriarty, a couple minor (hopefully) injury concerns. I know it's the first exhibition game and all, but with a 10-inning shutout (and no walks), I can't help but feel giddy.
_Gwyn - Saturday, March 01 2003 @ 10:13 PM EST (#95239) #
You have to love spring training box scores, 25 Jays saw some action yesterday. Good times.
Coach - Saturday, March 01 2003 @ 11:00 PM EST (#95240) #
I listened today too, and I think Huck will be OK, but Moriarty got hit by a pitch near the eye, and that could be serious. Wilson was supposed to play half the game at 1B, then Berg would take over, but when Moriarty got hurt, Berg went to 3B and Tom stayed in the game. That turned out to be a good thing; not only did Wilson get the big RBI, he flashed enough leather to get Tom & Jerry excited, making a couple of fine plays at 1B.

What surprised me was Doc being in midseason form. Last spring, he took his time, and didn't really show much until about his fourth start. All the Jays pitchers did well, and the offence was missing four regulars -- Stewart, Delgado, Phelps and Woodward. You won't see Wells-Wilson-Aven in the heart of the order when the games count. A very satisfying start.
Craig B - Saturday, March 01 2003 @ 11:51 PM EST (#95241) #
An impressive pitching performance considering Tamps Bay threw all of their best hitters out there. That's all they got, folks.
_Chuck Van Den C - Sunday, March 02 2003 @ 08:26 AM EST (#95242) #
Some observations from the first boxscore...

Tosca's lineup served as nice foreshadowing of what's to come, even if several of the principals were absent (Stewart, Delgado, Phelps, Woodward). He simply slotted in the alternate starters into the slots to be held by the regulars: LF, 3B, CF, 1B, DH, RF, SS, 2B, CA.

This translates into


The upside of this lineup is that L-R alternation is being honoured. The downside is that Wells bats #3, a spot his bat currently doesn't deserve, particularly since it means you've got a low OBP guy ahead of Delgado.

Still, this lineup should surprise no one since it's pretty much the same as last year's.

Did anyone notice that Piniella decided to bat Ordonez second? Ugh. You can almost hear the cliches now: "we don't have a lot of power, so we're going to have to bunt and hit and run to manufacture runs."
_Chuck Van Den C - Monday, March 03 2003 @ 07:02 AM EST (#95243) #
Under the heading "reading way more into things than is probably reasonable", did we see Tosca's lineup configuration vs LHP yesterday? Obviously many of the typical starters didn't start, especially obvious when Myers starts against a lefty.

The configuration LF, 2B, C, 1B, CF, DH, 3B, RF, SS translates to


This lineup would seem to reflect Tosca being well aware of Wilson's lefty-bashing in 2002, the "reverse skews" shown by Wells, Phelps and Woodward and Hinske's struggles vs LHP. Delgado, despite his struggles vs LHP, would appear to be entrenched in the 4-hole no matter what. He has hit lefties in the past, so this is not entirely unreasonable.
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