Opening Day, in a Minor way

Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 09:35 AM EDT

Contributed by: Gerry

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!