Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Nothing would please me more as a Blue Jays fan than to be wrong in my fantasy advice regarding Cory Lidle. Citing his slow starts the past two years and the wicked early schedule, I suggested passing on the Jays' new #2 starter in your drafts, then trading for him in mid-May. A very good outing today against a strong Cincinnati lineup is changing my mind; Lidle seems ready to go. Here's the game story and box score from MLB.com.

Cory showed heís a baseball player, not just a pitcher, with a hit and some excellent baserunning to score the game's first run -Ė he even looked ready to slide, but fortunately, that wasnít necessary. He pitched neatly out of a second-inning jam, and otherwise had masterful command. Lidle was lifted an inning early, but Iím not sure what the supposed problem was, and the pitcher looked annoyed at the cautious decision by his handlers.


Peter Gammons visited with Faulds and Cerutti in the Sportsnet booth today; he likes the Jays, calling them younger and more athletic, and dropped Jason Arnold's name while expressing concern about the current Toronto rotation. PG raves about the Twins, and cautions that the White Sox "have to catch the ball and beat somebody" before they should be granted contender status.

Kudos to Shawn Fagan for opening eyes this spring. Called up as an extra body, the kid has got on base, and showed off range and an arm at 1B today. Heís earned himself a trip to Syracuse instead of New Haven. Mike Moriarty, who has come back quickly from the nasty beaning, played very well at 3B today, ranging far to his left and diving Ė face first Ė to start a superb 5-3 putout.

Excellent idea to put Roy Halladay into a simulated game yesterday instead of having him embarrass the Yankees before the March 31 home opener. Doc has been so dominant this spring that he hasn't had to work much from the stretch. I assume the credit goes to Carlos Tosca, who explained:

"He threw 75 pitches, which is what we wanted him to do. We let some innings play out and in other innings we threw some situations in there. First-and-second, bunt plays, first-and-third, some pitchouts. It was very productive."

Whatís left to do in Florida? Get the following hitters ready:

STEWART
HINSKE
WELLS
DELGADO
PHELPS
CATALANOTTO
WOODWARD
HUDSON
MYERS
WILSON
BERG
BORDICK
AVEN

(Iím guessing Jayson Werth goes to AAA for a very short time to get his best stroke by playing regularly, then is called up to replace Aven as soon as they need a third C.) Everyone seems confident that Catís back will be 95% by the opener, but who knows? Is there another roster spot for Rob Ryan or Mike Colangelo? Depends on the pitching staff:

HALLADAY
LIDLE
HENDRICKSON
STURTZE
WALKER
ESCOBAR
POLITTE
TAM
CREEK
T. MILLER
LOPEZ

Thatís 11, without Justin Miller. If the Illustrated Swing Man is healthy enough to be useful, they might carry him as #12. He may be in that same limbo as Pasqual Coco, with one more AAA option than previously believed, or he could need a rehab assignment for that tender shoulder, so the decision wonít be made until the last minute. Corey Thurman has pitched well, and deserves the last spot ahead of Miller, if it wonít hurt his long-term development as a starter. Iíd send him to AAA and stretch him out; heís still young and thereís no hurry.

Some Ken Huckaby and/or Dewayne Wise loyalists still have high hopes, but I canít see either one making the final cut. This is strictly one man's opinion, and you are invited to play Beat the Coach with your own 25-man roster prediction.
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_steve - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 07:29 PM EST (#93256) #
Lidle had a slight cramp due to the heat, and they decided to shut him down after his 4 IP (according to Tosca, in his post-game interview with Hazel May on Sportsnet). Nothing to worry about!
_DS - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 09:30 PM EST (#93257) #
The thing that surprised me the most in this game was the size of Wily Mo Pena. The guy should be playing football with his size and speed. It seems almost wasted in baseball.
_Spicol - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 10:14 PM EST (#93258) #
Can anyone help but cheer for Shawn Fagan? He just seems like a ballplayer to me. He's got that David Eckstein/Chad Curtis scrappy work-ethic-gets-me-by thing going.

He's still not too much of a prospect, unless he starts driving the ball better, but you can call me a fan and I won't deny it.
Pistol - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 08:26 AM EST (#93259) #
Sounds like the Jays are carrying 3 catchers according to the Star. I figured that's why Wilson was getting time at 1B & 3B.
_R Billie - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 09:06 AM EST (#93260) #
Just a sidenote...guess who leads the Jays spring training in strikeouts (10), K/9 (10 in 7 innings), and K minus BB (10 - 2)? Ok the last one is a contrived stat but it's true.

Aquilino Lopez not only has a chance to make the team, but by mid-season may be second best option out of the pen to Politte. Or if they think his frame can take it, a spot starter.
Coach - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 09:14 AM EST (#93261) #
Lopez was nibbling, with a lot of breaking stuff, in his first inning the other day, then got better and showed off a good fastball; he looks like he can go 3-4 innings if needed.
_John Doe - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 09:27 AM EST (#93262) #
Sounds like the Jays are carrying 3 catchers according to the Star.

Got a link?
Pepper Moffatt - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 10:07 AM EST (#93263) #
http://economics.about.com
I'd put money on it that Huck is the opening day catcher for the Jays. I don't think it's a good idea, but it will happen.
_dp - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 10:10 AM EST (#93264) #
Any reason Cash, Werth and Wise haven't played more this spring? It seems strange these guys haven't been given more of an audition. This Doug Creek thing is really bugging me. What's Jason Kerschner's place in all this? If he's healthy, I'd really like to see J. Miller starting ahead of Pete Walker (and I like Walker).

Felipe Lopez is looking good this spring. Larkin probably gets hurt, and F-Lo is in the top 5 among NL SS by mideseaon. I'm still rooting for this guy- he got a raw deal from Jays and wasn't treated with the skill and patience that a top prospect merits.
Gerry - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 10:41 AM EST (#93265) #
Huckaby will make the Jays roster. Myers will be used as a part time catcher and as a lefty pinch hitter. If he is used as a PH you need a third catcher as backup.
Coach - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 10:47 AM EST (#93266) #
Kershner's already sent down. Werth has a sore wrist. Cash didn't need an "audition", as they know what he can do behind the plate. He remains the future #1 but needs more AAA seasoning before his bat's even adequate for the AL.

The same Geoff Baker piece in the Star that is fueling the 3-C fire (again) also paints Tim Young as more of a candidate than he really is to take Trever Miller's well-deserved job. Baker has his sources and opinions, and some people may assume the paper is more credible than BB, but I'm not buying any of it. The Jays signed Greg Myers to replace Ken Huckaby, not to clutter the roster. Last year, they had two catchers, neither of whom could hit RH pitching. Myers can. I promise to be suitably humble if I'm wrong, which (on this subject, at least) is unlikely.
_R Billie - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 10:52 AM EST (#93267) #
I think the three catcher thing is a distinct possibility. They realize Wilson isn't at his best behind the plate and neither Myers nor Huckaby can likely stand up to full time duty. I think that's the reason Wilson has been working out at 1B and 3B as well, so they can get his bat in against lefties on more occasions besides just catching. Incidentally, from seeing him on TV this weekend it does look like he's slimmed down a fair bit and he looks pretty agile out there. His catching skills still leave much to be desired though.
_Spicol - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 10:53 AM EST (#93268) #
Any reason Cash, Werth and Wise haven't played more this spring?
It seems strange these guys haven't been given more of an audition.


With Myers, Huckaby and Wilson all likely to start the season with the Jays, there really wasn't time for Cash to get more work in with the big club. Cash really needs to work on his hitting anyway and it was clear that he had no chance to make the roster out of the spring. Werth has been bothered by a wrist injury and Wise has been hamstrung by his hamstring.

This Doug Creek thing is really bugging me. What's Jason Kerschner's place in all this?

His place in all this will be AAA apparently. Trever Miller has looked pretty good this spring and is the likely choice for 2nd lefty...that further seals Hendrickson into the rotation in case there was any doubt.

If he's healthy, I'd really like to see J. Miller starting ahead of Pete Walker (and I like Walker).

The problem is that Miller isn't healthy. He's had a shoulder thing. He just pitched for the first time at the end of last week and likely won't be in top form to start with Toronto in 2 weeks.
_R Billie - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 11:05 AM EST (#93269) #
I think once Cash is ready Huckaby will be done. Hopefully they can move him to a ML team that needs a decent backup. Then it will be Cash/Myers for the rest of the year with Wilson becoming a third backup infielder, emergency catcher, pinch hitter...he should actually be quite useful.
_dp - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 02:19 PM EST (#93270) #
Thanks for the info- I've been distracted this spring training by work and trying to pay attention to the war situation. Opening day is going to be great- and I actually get to watch the game b/c they're playing against the Yanks.

Does anyone else really dislike the way the schedule is (and has been) laid out? Even though the Jays play primarily against the AL East, they don't play Baltimore or Tampa Bay until June, and only play two series against the Yankees after July (none against the Red Sox). We've seen Jays teams of the past overperform against the weaker competition late in the season, leading to mistaken evaluation of its talents, but this also has to hurt attendence numbers, playing totally meaningless games in September (primarily Baltimore, Detroit and Tampa Bay). How/why does management for these teams agree to this?
_Gwyn - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 02:58 PM EST (#93271) #
Wilson on Huckaby:

Wilson said. "Huck's our catcher. It's not a secret. He caught most of the time last year when we were together."

from the official site today
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