Lidle Shuts Down Reds

Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 06:58 AM EST

Contributed by: Coach

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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