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Shaun "Of The Dead" Marcum made a lot of Rays hitters look like zombies as he delivered three shutout innings in the Jays 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay at Port Charlotte Thursday afternoon.    Jordan Bastian of bluejays.com reports the Kansas City native could be the man on the mound for the Opening Day start April 5th in Texas.



A banner of Shaun Marcum at Merchantsauto.com Stadium, home of the Jays Double-A affiliate in New Hampshire.


Marcum allowed just one hit while striking out two batters on just 39 pitches, 31 of which were strikes.  Marcum's brilliance was not matched by Shawn Camp as the Rays got to him for three runs in the fifth inning, including a John Jaso two-run homer.  He gave up six hits over two innings but at least he didn't walk anyone and five of his outs were on the ground.   Lefty Brad Mills allowed a run on three hits over two innings to go along with a walk and a strikeout.  Steven Register worked a clean eighth with three ground ball outs.

At the plate, the Jays only totalled five hits and two of them belonged to Jorge Padilla David Cooper had the only extra base hit with a double in his lone plate appearance while Joey Gathright and John McDonald had the other base hits.  Gathright's RBI single cashed in Johnny Mac with the first run of the game in the top of the fifth.

The Jays lose ground in the Grapefruit League AL East standings as they fall to 5-3 on the season.  That puts them behind 6-3 Boston and 9-1 Tampa Bay while Cleveland remains unbeaten at 5-0.  The Jays host the Houston Astros in Dunedin this afternoon in a 1:05 post meridian start in the time zone that is Eastern.  It'll be the "Life of Brian" on the mound as Tallet pitches against Moehler.  Hopefully, no one utters this magic word!


In other Jays-related news.......


Around the majors.....

Marcum Down For Opening Day? | 40 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Ryan Day - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 09:28 AM EST (#212314) #
Getting too optimistic in spring training is dangerous, but a healthy Marcum could be a huge boost for the team. He was having  a great 2008 before his elbow crapped out, and even his full-year numbers were pretty solid.

Obviously you've got to worry about stamina and durability, but colour me hopeful for now.
Mike Green - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 09:43 AM EST (#212317) #
Marcum is the kind of pitcher who, in my opinion, can survive and prosper after TJ.  He isn't left-handed like Tommy John and David Wells, but he controls the strike zone well, fields his position well and holds runners well.  I'll be watching his GB rate closely.

Hill is saying the right things about his approach at the plate, and is executing in spring training.  For years, I have taken the over on his projections, and I'll be doing it again this year.  The X factors- motivation, dedication and intelligence- are all on his side.

jester00 - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 10:06 AM EST (#212319) #
Taking our optimism even further than Ryan did, if, and its a big if, McGowan is healthy either on opening day or after a stint on the 15 day DL, our rotation is borderline fantastic. Marcum, Romero, Morrow, Zep and McGowan would be formidable. As poor as everyone seems to think we are going to do this year, I can honestly say that I don't think I've been more excited to be a Jays fan than I am this year. Between the Jays and their minor league affiliates with the infusion of higher end talent, I can't wait for the season to start!
Thomas - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 10:42 AM EST (#212321) #
our rotation is borderline fantastic. Marcum, Romero, Morrow, Zep and McGowan would be formidable

I'm optimistic about our rotation if Marcum and McGowan return to health, but let's not get carried away. It's hard to call that rotation "formidable" and "borderline fantastic," particularly until we see that Romero can last a second year in the majors, Morrow takes a step forward by showing improved control and that Marcum and McGowan are both healthy and not suffering effects of their injuries. It's easy to forget two teams in our division have rotations headed by CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Javier Vazquez and Andy Pettitte and Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buccholz. Those rotations are "formidable" and "borderline fantastic."
stevieboy22 - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 10:43 AM EST (#212322) #

Between the Jays and their minor league affiliates with the infusion of higher end talent, I can't wait for the season to start!

I absolutely agree. This team has so much pitching depth, that it's easy to picture them having one of the best staffs in the major leagues in a year or two. I don't really care if they when this year, obviously it would be nice, but what excites me is watching to see who excels from this group. They have 20 guys who all have a shot at being good major league starting pitchers. And I tend to believe that the depth will make it so that no one is being rushed and only those who have proven themselves are in the major league rotation.

I also can't help but get excited when I think about what the Scott Rolen trade brought back. There was a point during Rolen's tenure where it was looking like Rolen was destined to be released.  Then he turned it on for a little bit and now they have Zach Stewart, who seems like he has a shot to be a high end starter. I love Roenicke's arm. And I wouldn't be shocked if Encarnacion puts out a 30 homerun season this year.

Arencibia has me thrilled after only 8 spring training at bats.  I'm thinking this surgery talk isn't just fluff, but actually could be significant.

And of course it will be fun to see how the draft shakes out with all these picks...

It's going to be a fun year.

stevieboy22 - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 10:51 AM EST (#212323) #

they when this year

*win

Ryan Day - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 11:15 AM EST (#212324) #
I think you've got to be skeptical about McGowan until he shows he's fully recovered. Shoulder surgery isn't as easy to recover from as TJ, and if McGowan is missing a bit of velocity and a bit of control, he may struggle.

I like Morrow, but I'd expect him to be inconsistent this year, at least: Dominant one game, then walk 5 batters and be out in the 4th the next. AJ Burnett The Second.

Mick Doherty - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 11:45 AM EST (#212326) #
A Monty Python's Life of Brian reference! It's not even 11 a.m. yet here in Tejas, and my day is complete.
Mike Green - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 12:06 PM EST (#212327) #
The positive example for McGowan would be Chris Carpenter. After his shoulder surgery, the Cards sent him to the minors for 8 starts in 2003.  He then struggled at the start of 2004, before putting it together after about another 8 starts. 

It is unreasonable to expect McGowan to throw a little bit in the spring, and then be ready to dominate from the get-go.  What is reasonably possible is that he may start the season in the bullpen or on the DL, get a rehab stint, and perhaps if all goes well, he is effective by mid-season.  That is fine.  The question isn't whether the 2010 Jays have a great pitching staff, but whether the 2011, 12 and 13 clubs do.

John Northey - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 12:32 PM EST (#212328) #
That Python bit is amazing - the number of things they make fun of in so short a time and making it funny is fantastic.

As to 2010 - IF Marcum and McGowan are back and pitching like we all thought they could, IF Morrow and Romero can step up to the next level, IF Rzep or Cecil or someone else can fill in the 5th slot and the others step in nicely for any injuries THEN we have an amazing top to bottom rotation.

It is fun to dream of seeing the 3Ms & 2 R's take over the league with a collective ERA+ of 130+. Of course, the odds are insanely slim of that happening but it is fun to dream and isn't spring the time for dreams?
China fan - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 12:57 PM EST (#212329) #

Edwin Encarnacion is, once again, not in the lineup for today's game against Houston.  His continuing absence from the spring lineup is starting to become a big issue for the 2010 lineup.  Even if he returns from injury soon, can he get enough work to be ready for opening day?  If not, Bautista can take over at 3B, but that creates a hole in the outfield.  The Jays could opt for an outfield of Wells-Lind-Snider, but that would be a defensive nightmare -- and it presumes that Snider and Ruiz are good enough for full-time slots in the outfield and DH respectively, both of which are uncertain propositions.  The Jays have plenty of depth in pitching, but not much depth in the offence (unless you're excited by the likes of Joey Gathright or Chris Lubanski).   One injury, like the injury to Encarnacion, has a cascading effect on the whole lineup, exposing further weaknesses in the team.

westcoast dude - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 02:44 PM EST (#212332) #
China fan, I believe Mike McCoy could be the answer if Bautista has to start at 3rd base.  Granted, only 9 at bats screams small sample size, but 6 hits is definitely encouraging, and Cito Gaston appreciates the versitility he has shown so far. At the moment, I'd put him ahead of Snider.  He turns 29 this month, so this could be the all or nothing year. Wouldn't it be something if he turned out to be really something? Youneverknow.
katman - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 03:15 PM EST (#212334) #
What is reasonably possible is that he may start the season in the bullpen... I hope McGowan does, and stays there. Too many serious injuries for me to be confident in his ability to start ad have a decent length career. Too much stuff not to give him a try at a position that we have no real top-tier answers for right now.
John Northey - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 03:54 PM EST (#212335) #
If McCoy is strong on defense he could be interesting. Lifetime 270/369/360 in the minors, 293/387/391 in AAA. However, a chunk of that AAA is in the PCL which is a hitters league.

300+ games at 2B and SS, 127 at 3B, 22/32/19 LF/CF/RF, even pitched 3 times. Seems like a very useful utility guy, even more so than Inglett. Last year was 60 SS/38 3B/24 CF/10 RF/7 LF/6 2B/1 P.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=mccoy-001mic
CeeBee - Friday, March 12 2010 @ 11:10 PM EST (#212338) #
I guess you could say he's "The real McCoy", especially if he makes the Jays.
TamRa - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 01:35 AM EST (#212339) #
seems to me that if McCoy is on the roster and EE can't open the season, it's far more likely McCoy will be at 3B and Bautista in RF than the reverse.


China fan - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 02:41 AM EST (#212340) #

That sounds logical, WillRain.  But for some reason Bautista has been playing at 3B for all of the spring so far, and McCoy has not been at 3B.  I can see McCoy making this team as a utility guy, but you'd think that the Jays would want to give him some time at 3B if that's going to be an option for the team.  It appears, on the face of it, that Bautista is being prepped to play 3B if Encarnacion can't do it.

So then who plays RF and LF?  The outfield is emerging as one of the biggest question marks this year.  Snider is looking unimpressive this spring and the Jays have said quite plainly that he will start in the minors if he doesn't force his way onto the team.  To shift Lind to the outfield -- after a year when he was primarily the DH -- is a little risky, but I suppose it can be done.  (If this means that Ruiz opens the season as the full-time DH, maybe Dopirak makes the team as the back-up DH and 1B.)  You're still left with a hole in the outfield.  The options there would be:  a 29-year-old career minor-leaguer who has never proven himself in the big leagues (McCoy);  or a guy with a career OPS of .630 (Gathright); or a guy with a career OPS of .669 (Reed).   Any of them could be a decent back-up, but they don't seem ready for full-time duties at this point.  It's all very unappetizing.   Let's hope that Encarnacion recovers very soon.

Matthew E - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 11:00 AM EST (#212341) #
Remember in 2004, when Wells and Catalanotto were hurt, and the Jays starting outfield consisted of Reed Johnson (who had never been a regular at the time), Alex Rios (a rookie who would hit one home run that year) and either Dave Berg or Howie Clark?

If the Jays get some injuries this year we could see that kind of action again. The Jays re-signed Clark this off-season, right?

ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 01:40 PM EST (#212342) #

If McCoy is strong on defense he could be interesting. Lifetime 270/369/360 in the minors, 293/387/391 in AAA. However, a chunk of that AAA is in the PCL which is a hitters league.

300+ games at 2B and SS, 127 at 3B, 22/32/19 LF/CF/RF, even pitched 3 times. Seems like a very useful utility guy, even more so than Inglett.

John, I have to disagree with you here. McCoy's numbers as a minor leaguer are terrible overall. In 4 seasons at AA, he put up a .635 OPS when he was old for the level. His only respectable numbers arise in the hitter-friendly PCL. By contrast, in 3 seasons at AA, Inglett's OPS was .868. Moreover, McCoy is 29 on opening day. I find it hard to imagine someone less interesting.

ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 01:59 PM EST (#212343) #
"Snider would have the edge for the job in left with a good spring. That means Gathright, Reed and utility man Mike McCoy would be in a three-way fight for a spot on the Jays' bench. A lot depends on Snider, who could also open the year with Triple-A Las Vegas.

"Snider's got a chance to make this club," manager Cito Gaston said. "We want him to make this club, because you've got to go and look at the long-term future of this club. Is it more with Gathright, or is it more with Snider? ... Gathright, he's got a chance to make the club, but it's probably as an extra outfielder or, if Snider just falls on his face, an everyday outfielder."

It seems like Adam Lind is off the map as an outfielder. That's a tough call. While it would certainly be a pitcher's nightmare to have a LInd/Wells/Bautista outfield (at least it's a defensive step above a Lind/Wells/Snider outfield), Lind doesn't seem to have a future at first base either now that Wallace is in the wings.

I suspect the organization is giving a lot of thought to running out an entire rotation of youngsters, and we'll end up with Gathright in left and JMac at third if Encarnacion can't play (though the news on mlbradio concerning him sounded good on Thurs or Wednes.) I don't think that Snider will be able to turn it around in spring training given his worse-than-expected performance so far, though it appears they'll be giving him every chance to show he can hit major leaguers.

Gerry - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 02:06 PM EST (#212344) #
I don't think Lind is off the map as an outfielder.  When the Jays face a lefty I expect Snider to sit, Lind to play left and Ruiz to DH.
ayjackson - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 02:29 PM EST (#212345) #

His only respectable numbers arise in the hitter-friendly PCL

It's not like his power numbers came up in AAA.  Just his OBP.  I'm not sure how the leagues compare for singles and walks.

Ryan Day - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 02:40 PM EST (#212346) #
McCoy might not have much of a bat, but neither do Reed or Gathright, both of whom have 1300 PAs showing they can't hit much against MLB pitchers. If McCoy is in the same ballpark offensively and offers more defensive flexibility, he might be the best choice for the backup spot.
Maldoff - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 02:43 PM EST (#212347) #
It might make the team a little too lefthanded, but I would rather have Doparik up and DHing over Ruiz. We all know this seaosn is about building for the future, so why not see what we have in the "Life of Brian"?
Maldoff - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 02:52 PM EST (#212348) #

Another thought: why is no one talking about Dana Eveland for a rotation spot? He's still only 26, was a top prospect and had a pretty successful rookie season in 2008.

ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 03:01 PM EST (#212349) #

I don't think Lind is off the map as an outfielder.  When the Jays face a lefty I expect Snider to sit, Lind to play left and Ruiz to DH.

That would be a solid decision if Snider makes the squad given his struggles against lefties. I meant though that LInd seems off the map as an everyday outfielder. If Snider doesn't make the team, the quote I posted from Bastian suggests the org would go with Gathright in left and Lind as DH rather than the Lind/Ruiz pairing at left/DH. If that's true, I suspect it results from a consideration that they'd rather have the difference in left between Gathright and Lind for the sake of young pitchers, than the difference between Gathright and Ruiz, if any, at the plate.

ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 03:13 PM EST (#212350) #

It might make the team a little too lefthanded, but I would rather have Doparik up and DHing over Ruiz.

I think they both bat right. And I find it pretty hard to get excited about Dopirak given how hard he struggled at each level before finally progressing. I'm not at all sold on Ruiz given his two stanazolol positives, but if he's hitting clean I think he's got a better shot at contributing something than Dopirak.

Mike Green - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 03:27 PM EST (#212351) #
You gotta love spring training.  Eric Thames in center?  OK.  Moises Sierra at short.  Why not?  The Dude pitching.  Whatever.

As for Dana Eveland getting the 5th slot coming into the season, that is looking more and more likely.  Many of us predicted that Eveland would get a significant number of starts.

Flex - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 04:26 PM EST (#212352) #
Eveland had four strikeouts in three shutout innings today after Romero.
Jabes - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 05:36 PM EST (#212353) #
Hi there, I haven't posted here in a while.  It's great to see you're still going strong.
I know it's a labour of love.

Just wondering, I used to talk to "Coach" on here and even watched Roy pitch a couple
times with him.  Does anybody know what he is up to these days? 

Thanks.

Continued Success. 

Mylegacy - Saturday, March 13 2010 @ 06:23 PM EST (#212354) #
Thames up with the big team is a BIG deal.

Eric has been a very delicate - often injured - BUT nonetheless a very serious talent. Healthy - this guy rakes. I'm DELIGHTED to see him get a look see at this level. He and Sierra (and possibly Loewen) give us at least two above average outfield prospects. I expect Thames to be rushed a bit this year - if healthy - to make up for lost time.

He'll be a great story to watch this season. One of what is turning into many intriguing guys to watch this year.

TamRa - Sunday, March 14 2010 @ 01:21 AM EST (#212357) #
I don't think Lind is off the map as an outfielder.  When the Jays face a lefty I expect Snider to sit, Lind to play left and Ruiz to DH.

I remain firmly opposed to sheltering Snider from Lefties - if we expect him to be a full time guy then in a season where wining is not a priority he needs to be out there.

I would let Ruiz platoon at 1B with Overbay, personally, and DH occasionally to give Lind, Snider, or Bautista a day off. If each of them got an average of two off days a month - heck let's throw Encarnacion into this with JB spotting at 3B - and you would get Ruiz starting over half the games they played.


I do agree that if the Jays are actually going to be carrying Gathright, Reed, or McCoy then I'm worried about the outfield (notwithstanding Cito used to love the Darnell Coles' of the world) but for now I'm still hoping will scoop someone slightly better off the market when out-of-option guys become available towards then end of ST.

Some possibilities:

Eric Patterson
Rajai Davis
Fred Lewis
Cody Ross (long shot but for the right price)
Josh Willingham (shouldn't be available in this sort of scenario...)
Felix Pie
Wladimir Balentien
Delmon Young


I could see dealing with Oakland for someone like Patterson out of there excess - send them Camp and a kid like Gonzalez or some such.
Flex - Sunday, March 14 2010 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#212360) #
Just wanted to draw attention to this great quote by Romero after yesterday's game. He said he was handling adversity better now. Last year ...

"I probably would've folded right away and kind of tucked my ears between my tail."

vw_fan17 - Sunday, March 14 2010 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#212363) #
Interesting article about former Jay Matt Stairs, possibly about to set a major league record as the only position player to play for 12 different teams.. Has a summary of Stairs' career, etc.. Made for a fun read.
 
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-stairs031210&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Gerry - Sunday, March 14 2010 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#212364) #

A couple of pre-game notes from the Fan590 pre-game:

Mike Wilner interviewed Dustin McGowan who pitched another simulated game today.  Everything appeared to go well with McGowan today.  The plan is for McGowan to pitch in a minor league game next Friday.  McGowan said he did have some soreness after his last start but he said it was normal soreness.

Jerry Howarth interviewed the Jays new first base coach Omar Malave.  I had interviewed Malave back in 2005 when he was managing Ricky Romero and Adam Lind in Dunedin in the FSL.  So I was surprised when I heard Jerry asking Malave questions about some of his quotes from that interview.  I waited to see if Jerry acknowledged Batters Box as the source of his quotes but he did not.  I am not sure if that is normal but a shout-out would have been nice. 

Here are the quotes Howarth used in the interview:

Ricky (Romero) is a special player ....... the key for him is location. Right now his fastball is good, his curveball is getting better and his changeup is too hard at times and needs some adjustments.

(Adam Lind) .... doesnít miss the pitches he is looking for ....... Defensively Lind was a first baseman in college and when he came here first but he has worked so hard and now he is average defensively. 

As a hitter I think Adam Lind has the edge over Vernon at the same age. Lind is more patient and more polished than Vernon was at the same age. Defensively its no contest, Vernon was at the top of his game, Lind needs help defensively.

 

China fan - Sunday, March 14 2010 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#212365) #

Just as the Jays are trying to showcase Frasor for a trade, he allows 4 runs in one-third of an inning against Atlanta.  A bad time for him to have a bad outing.   With the large number of good pitchers in camp, I'd like to see Tallet in the bullpen and Frasor traded -- if they can get a good return for him. 

Of course, Gregg hasn't looked much better than Frasor, so the real question might be, who's the closer?  Let's hope Downs can do it. 

92-93 - Sunday, March 14 2010 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#212367) #
"According to an industry source Hechavarria is close to signing a $10 million deal with the Blue Jays because he didnít envision himself playing short for the Yankees."

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/cuban_ss_hechavarria_will_pass_on_hEtz7Tiih6WNXsyqpTpXCL#ixzz0iBGeHlzP"
Brent S - Sunday, March 14 2010 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#212368) #
Massive news.

The New York Post is reporting that the Jays have signed Cuban SS prospect Adeinis Hechavarria for around $10 mil.

Hechavarria, 21, is considered the top SS prospect coming out of Cuba. Although reports differ on his defensive prowess, he is considered a two way threat both offensively and defensively.

An interesting side note: while playing on the Cuban national team with then teammate Jose Iglesias, Hechavarria was penciled in as the starting shortstop (Iglesias slid over to 2B). Iglesias is currently considered a world class defensive shortshop.

China fan - Sunday, March 14 2010 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#212371) #
Great news.  And incidentally, it means that the Jays don't need to trade Frasor for a shortstop prospect....   (And it probably would have taken a lot more than just Frasor on the Jays side of the deal, if they had wanted a good SS prospect.)
TamRa - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 12:49 AM EDT (#212399) #
Of course, Gregg hasn't looked much better than Frasor, so the real question might be, who's the closer?  Let's hope Downs can do it.

Without consulting the stats, my understanding was that this was Frasor's first bad outing while Gregg hasn't really had a good one.

I don't think it's fair to lump them together and I have every confidence that Frasor, if he's here, will be all the closer we'll need.

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