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Today is opening day for four minor league teams.   Casey Janssen gets the start for Syracuse at home.  Ismael Ramirez repeats as opening day starter for New Hampshire in an early start.  A.J. Burnett goes for Dunedin and Chi-Hung Cheng for Lansing.

I spoke with Dick Scott yesterday and our main topic was the Jays rotation at Syracuse.  Scott said that David Purcey earned his AAA spot with good performances in instructional league, in major league spring training and in minor league spring training.  Purcey has made significant strides in tightening up and smooting his delivery and he has also slowed it down to give him more control.  Scott also pointed out that Rick Langford is now the pitching coach in Syracuse and he worked with Purcey last season on his delivery when he was pitching coach in Dunedin.

Casey Janssen also pushed his way to AAA based on his performances in spring training.  Scott remains very impressed with Janssen's stuff, talking about how Janssen throws four pitches including a cutter and a sinker.  The cutter and sinker are a great combination with the fastball as they all look alike to the hitter.

Ty Taubenheim really surprised the Blue Jays this spring.  Taubenheim throws four pitches featuring a fastball and a good sinker.  Tauhenheim is a big guy but his fastball tops out at 88-91 which is why he hasn't been featured in top prospect lists.

Scott was firm on Francisco Rosario saying that Rosario needs to pick it up now.  Rosario is two years away from Tommy John surgery and now needs to deliver and Scott believes he should be pushing the major leaguers for a spot on the team.  The decision to return Rosario to the rotation was a combination of team need and what's best for the player.  Scott feels that by being in the rotation Rosario can work on things with Rick Langford between starts.

Dustin McGowan will remain a reliever "for now".  It sounded to me that if McGowan performs well as a reliever he will stay there, if he doesn't do well he can go back into the rotation.

There is no news on Perkins, which is good news.  Teams have ten days to claim him and the longer time that goes by the more likely it is that he will not be claimed.

Play Ball!

Opening Day, in a Minor way | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Jim - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#144519) #

Teams have ten days to claim him and the longer time that goes by the more likely it is that he will not be claimed.

Do teams really have 10 days to claim him?  I thought that they have 10 days to resolve his situation.  I thought that they had flexibility on when the 48 hour waiver period starts during the 10 days. 

I could be 100% wrong, but I didn't think that Perkins would actually be on waivers for the full ten days.  It only takes a couple of days to clear waivers, and once he does they could assign him to the minors.  They could try to trade him early in the ten day period and never actually expose him to waivers, if I understand correctly.

Of course, that is a pretty big if.

As for opening day, it's a good thing that NH is playing during the day.  It snowed for a while in Connecticut yesterday and it's pretty cold here in Philadelphia and I've heard it's no better there today. 


JC - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#144520) # has a small note that Maikel Jova has been placed on the Restricted List.

Anyone have some insight as to what the deal is there?

Mike Green - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#144523) #
Today's Fisher Cat game can be heard at  The Cats led 1-0 in the 2nd.  The Sky Chief game is at 2 p.m. and can be heard here. Nothing like a Thursday triple-header, with the Jays playing at night.
Maldoff - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#144524) #
Mike, just to correct (sorry, had to do it), the Cats are LOSING 1-0 after 3.  Glen Perkins of New Britain is mowing down the Cats lineup.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#144526) #
Thanks, Maldoff.  I had an score that was, I suppose, wrong.  Either that, or I need another cup of coffee.
Rob - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#144529) #
Glen Perkins is not just mowing down the lineup -- he has not given up a hit yet. Perhaps I should draw attention to this possible no-hitter; I certainly jinxed Downs last year on Opening Day.

And the following just came over the Rock Cats feed during the commercial. Make up your own backstory:
"You are in midseason form, Mr. Thatcher. (long pause, laugh) If only it worked that way."
VGeras - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#144532) #
Cota just broke up the no hitter
MatO - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#144536) #
Looks like Negron followed with another hit and that chased Perkins.  A sacrifice and doubles by Thigpen and Lind makes it 3-1 F-Cats in the 7th.
kinguy - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#144537) #
Chip Cannon double makes it 5-2 Fisher Cats..
Mike Green - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#144542) #
5-2 for the F-Cats was your final score.  Jamie Vermilyea had the 2 inning save.  Lind DHed and hit behind Thigpen and Cannon in the 3-4-5 slots.  Your top 3 position player prospects (arguably) in the organization hitting back-to-back-to-back.
MattAtBat - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#144543) #
I'm sure it has been mentioned here before but I am extremely concerned about Dustin McGowan as a reliever. His type of talent makes him project as a top-end starter or a closer, and now that he is in the bullpen, one would assume his greatest value there would be closing. However, the signed the Big Guy to do that for the next 5 years. (When I say "the big guy" I mean BJ Ryan, not God -- but by the fans' reactions so far, the two may be getting confused. But I digress.) As well, who needs a reliever with a four-or-more pitch repertoire?  (see Escobar, Kelvim or Batista, Miguel)

What I'm saying is, I don't care if McGowan likes it in the 'pen or not. He is of no utility to the Jays as a reliever (even a middle reliever, given the good young set-up arms of Frasor and Chulk). My interpretation is that the Jays would like to rebuild his confidence in the 'pen and hope its fungible when they return him to the starting gig. I think they are in danger of psyching out the kid, allowing him a crutch, preventing him from refining all his pitches and ultimately  reducing the chances of him successfully returning to being a starter.

Does anyone else agree that the Jays are hurting themselves long-term while perhaps stunting McGowan's development? Anyone care to prove me wrong?
robertdudek - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#144545) #
It's impossible to prove you wrong, because no one knows what stunts a pitcher's growth in general - there are too many variables and not enough data points to form firm conclusions.

That said, there have been plenty of pitchers who became great starters who did not start in the majors very much before the age of 25. In my view, giving McGowan three inning stints every four days is not a bad idea at all, given his relative youth and his health record.

If by 2008, McGowan feels more "comfortable", it's certainly possible that he will be inserted into the starting rotation.

Brent S - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#144546) #

I haven't heard news of this before, so when I found this today at work, I was pretty surprised (not to mention worried about my future office productivity). now supports the MLB GameDay service for all of AAA. As of right now, I'm watching Boof Bonser do battle against Janssen. It's nice to see how Janssen is mixing up his pitches.

As a little update, Bonser has struck out 5 SkyChief's through two innings, while Janssen as struck out two. No score as of the top of the 3rd inning.

Pistol - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#144547) #

Here's your NH boxscore.  If I remember correctly Glen Perkins (the New Britain starter) was the pitcher from U of Minnesota who was selected between Purcey and Z Jackson a couple drafts ago if anyone besides me cares.

I suppose we'll find out in time, but is there reason to think McGowan's going to be used as a multiple inning reliever for Syracuse?

CaramonLS - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#144549) #
Casey Janssen goes 5.0 IP, allows 7 hits, no walks and 3 ER, while striking out 4.
Justin (T-Birds) - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#144550) #
I don't think that McGowan would exactly be wasted as a reliever.  Just look at how valuable Scot Shields has been for Anaheim.  While a so-called number 1 or 2 starter may be McGowan's "potential", it's far from a sure thing.  There's certainly a point where 100 high-quality IP per year, with a high leverage index, is more valuable that 200 IP of lower quality, and we saw first-hand last September his ability to be a shut-down reliever.  If used properly, his role would be more important than Ryan's anyways, so I don't see how Ryan's signing precludes McGowan's value as a reliever.  At any rate, a fungible reliever like Chulk shouldn't be the basis for the decision.
R Billie - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#144551) #

Janssen was touched up a bit in his start for Syracuse against a tough Boof Bonser.

5ip 7h 3r 3er 0hr 0bb 4k

Rochester shortstop Josh Bartlett got to him for a double and a triple and scored two of the runs.  Bonser who seems to have been around forever but it still just 24 pitched 6 shutout innings giving up just 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 8.

The game is now in the bottom of the 7th with Syracuse trailing 5-1 and mounting a bit of a rally against the bullpen.  One run is in and there are 2 runners on with 1 out.

braden - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#144554) #

In case anyone is curious, Burnett put up the following line in Dunedin tonight:

4 IP,  3H, 1ER, 2BB, 2K

Unfortunately, doesn't list pitch counts but they do note that A.J. faced 17 batters.

Not sure what to take out of that.  I imagine they were keeping him on a fairly short leash, though.

actionjackson - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 10:42 PM EDT (#144555) #
8 ground outs, 2 fly outs, 2 strikeouts. In the 2nd inning, he loaded the bases with nobody out on back to back singles and a hit batter and wriggled out of it, allowing zero runs. As long as there's no pain, I'd say he has plenty to build on. I'd still like to see them take it easy with him. Eric Gagne went for another surgery today... you just never know.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#144556) #
Easy 9-3 win for the Lugnuts behind Cheng, with both Gutierrez and Gonzalez in the lineup (Garibaldi sat).  Minor league opening day is a little thrill of its own.
Lugnut Fan - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 05:37 AM EDT (#144580) #
It should be good new to everyone that Cheng had very good command last night.  He didn't walk a hitter until the fifth (where he walked two, allowing one run), but he was very efficient with his pitch count and challenged the hitters.  That is something that was missing last year.
kpataky - Saturday, April 08 2006 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#144710) #
Pictures from Opening Day in New Britain

Ismael Ramirez - New Hampshire Fisher Cats
#18 Prospect in Toronto Blue Jays Organization

Glen Perkins - New Britain Rock Cats
#4 Prospect in Minnesota Twins Organization

Mike Green - Saturday, April 08 2006 @ 10:22 PM EDT (#144732) #
Thanks, Kevin.  As always, much appreciated.
kpataky - Monday, April 10 2006 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#144813) #
I met up with Maikel Jova yesterday at New Britain Stadium, and we chatted for a while. I asked where he had been, and he said, "you know, around." I asked him what was going on and he said, I'm getting better. Then the subject changed. I asked him about Raul Tablado, and he said that Raul is very sick and he is back at home trying to get better. The media notes put out yesterday by the Fisher Cats indicates Tablado is on NH's 60 day DL. Jova is on NH's restricted list, but is working out and travelling with the team.
Opening Day, in a Minor way | 25 comments | Create New Account
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