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Today's POTD features Scott Downs, who has pitched for four Canadian teams in his professional career.

Scott Downs throws a pitch against his future employers, the Los Angeles Angels, at the Dome April 18.

Downs delivers against the Kansas City Royals at the Dome April 21.

Downs goes to work against the Seattle Mariners at the Dome September 23.

It was usually thumbs up from Jays fans when Downs entered a game.

You could say Jays fans were in "a comfort zone" when Downs climbed the mound.

Downs split 10 decisions in 2010 to go along with an earned run average of 2.64.

Downs heads to the dugout made after a shutout inning of relief in an eventual 1-0 victory over Seattle.

Downs collected 26 holds for Toronto in 2010.

His WHIP was a sterling 0.995 in 61 1/3 innings of work with a K-BB total of 48-14.

Downs went 20-18 during his six seasons with Toronto with a 3.18 ERA and 16 saves over 347 appearances.

Scott Downs will look to continue his successful career south of the border in 2011.  The 34 year-old lefty from Louisville, Kentucky was originally selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 12th round of the 1994 amateur draft but he decided to pitch for the University of Kentucky instead.  Downs was taken by the Chicago Cubs in round three of the '97 draft.  He would be traded to Minnesota for former Jays hurler Mike Morgan in 1998 but was dealt back to the Cubs in a deal involving another pitcher, Kyle Lohse, in 1999. 

Downs made it to the bigs in 2000 with the North Siders and had a 4-3 record with a 5.17 ERA before being traded to Montreal for outfielder Rondell White at the July 31 trade deadline.  He pitched just three innings for the Expos in his lone start in early August and did not see the mound again until 2002 thanks to Tommy John surgery.  Downs' only action in '02 was in Brevard County and Ottawa as he made a combined 24 relief appearances.  He was 2-1 with a 5.79 ERA during his stint with the Lynx. 

Even though the Expos left the Nation's Capital as their Triple-A affiliate, Downs would remain in Canada as the Expos teamed up with the Edmonton Trappers.  Save for one start with Montreal in 2003 in which he took the loss, Downs remained in Alberta as he went 8-9 with a 4.29 ERA and pitched three complete games.  His greatest accomplishment with Edmonton came in 2004 when he no-hit the Las Vegas 51's June 11.  He would go 10-6 with the Trappers that year with a 3.52 ERA and two complete game shutouts.  Just over two weeks after his no-hitter, Downs was called up by the Expos to make his first start against the Jays at the Dome June 26.  It was not exactly his finest hour.  He would finish the year with a 3-6 mark with a 5.14 ERA but he had two strong starts.  He earned his first Expos victory by allowing an unearned run over seven innings against Pittsburgh July 11 and spun a complete game shutout against his former team, the Cubs, by allowing just five hits and a walk September 8.

In arguably the best move made by former GM J.P. Ricciardi, Downs was signed as a free agent by the Blue Jays in December of 2004.  After going 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA in Syracuse to start 2005, Downs was called up to Toronto in May to join the bullpen.  He would earn his first win in a Jays uniform as a starter with seven strong frames against the Tigers August 11.  He would finish the year in the starting rotation and would end the year 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA.

Downs would really prove his value to the Jays in 2006 as he became a valuable member of the team's bullpen.  Of his 59 appearances, 54 of them came in relief as he posted a 6-2 record with a 4.09 ERA and one save.  His 2007 season was even better as he made a league leading 81 appearances while winning four of six decisions with a 2.17 ERA and one save.  That performance earned Downs a three year contract to remain a Blue Jay.

The 2008 season saw Downs lower his ERA to 1.88 while picking up five saves in 66 appearances.  In 2009, Downs took over for an ineffective B.J. Ryan as the team's closer but his season went downhill after he injured his big toe during an at-bat in Philadelphia June 16.  He would miss chunks of time for the rest of the year as he made just 48 appearances while winning just one of four decisions.   However, he earned a career high nine saves to go along with a 3.09 ERA.

After signing a three-year deal with the Angels, Downs will join Vernon Wells in Anaheim and they are scheduled to be back in Toronto August 12-14 and September 19-22.  Whenever they make their first appearances at the Dome, I hope the fans show them the proper respect and give them a standing ovation.  I'll miss his ritual of writing the initials of his kids with his finger before climbing the mound.  He was worthy of wearing Dave Stieb's #37.

10 Photos - #37 Scott Downs | 13 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Saturday, February 12 2011 @ 10:50 AM EST (#230200) #

I always felt we missed a truly great nickname opportunity with Downs  ... call him "DoobyDooDown"!

As in, "Come on, come on, Scott "DoobyDooDown" Downs! ... Come on, come on ..."

Oh, never mind ....

ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, February 12 2011 @ 02:43 PM EST (#230204) #
Breaking up's a lot easier to do when you get a couple of high picks back and your scouting department has been restored.
Thomas - Saturday, February 12 2011 @ 03:03 PM EST (#230205) #
Great photos and great retrospective, #2JB. They are all appreciate, but this was particularly good.

There are a couple of great mid-delivery photos in there, but I also really enjoy the one of Downs nonchalantly catching the throw back from the catcher.
Gerry - Saturday, February 12 2011 @ 03:13 PM EST (#230207) #

The local scribes have hit Florida waiting for pitchers and catchers to report.  Robert McLoed of the Globe has a story on Dustin McGowan and Scott Richmond.

McGowan said so far, all is well with the shoulder and he threw off a mound for the first time since the second surgery on Wednesday and reported no problems.

“The only thing I’ve really experienced is what I like to call normal soreness which is good to feel again,” McGowan said. “I haven’t felt that in a long time. Each and every day it feels like it’s getting a little stronger, the soreness is going away.”


actionjackson - Saturday, February 12 2011 @ 03:23 PM EST (#230208) #
Nice shots #2JB. A nickname for Downsie is easy considering his Louisville, Kentucky roots - "Churchill". Then there was always Wilner's "Snakeface", which nicely summed up the intimidation factor that this otherwise laid-back (at least laid-back sounding in any interview I ever heard with him) dude brought with him to the mound every day. What a great turn around to his career. I loved watching him pitch here and will continue to do so, even though he no longer wears Blue Jay colours.
ayjackson - Saturday, February 12 2011 @ 04:02 PM EST (#230209) #
A healthy and back to normal McGowan would be the most pleasant of surprises.  It`s worth monitoring, absent of any expectations.
China fan - Saturday, February 12 2011 @ 04:53 PM EST (#230213) #

In the Globe article mentioned by Gerry above, there's an interesting quote from Scott Richmond, who says:  "“There’s two starting positions and something like five guys battling for it."   So, apparently, the Jays have told Richmond that he's still got a shot at a starting-rotation job, even if it's a long shot.

I'm curious about the fifth candidate that Richmond alludes to.  I would presume that it's Brad Mills, although there's a possibility that it's Zach Stewart.

Despite the quote above, I'd have to agree with the conventional wisdom that it's essentially a three-man race:  Litsch, Zep and Drabek battling for two positions.  But it would be nice to see Richmond forcing his way into the race, if only to keep the others on their toes.

chocolatethunder - Saturday, February 12 2011 @ 11:26 PM EST (#230217) #

Man the past couple of days trying to visualize our lineup and just looking at the pics of Downs this fan is going to miss Downs, he was nails for a long time in a Jays far as Rzep...does it make sense for him to take over Tallet's role, as long man, and occasional starter....kind of cheering for Litsch to make the team and regain some of that effectiveness that he had pitched with in the past.

92-93 - Sunday, February 13 2011 @ 03:44 PM EST (#230233) #
Funnily enough, "Snakeface" came about because of Downs' lack of mental toughness, not because a caller actually thought he had swagger.

I'll miss Downs scribbling his kids' initials on the mound before each appearance while his numerous necklaces hang freely from his neck.
Magpie - Tuesday, February 15 2011 @ 04:09 AM EST (#230273) #
"Snakeface" came about because of Downs' lack of mental toughness

Really! I honestly thought it was descriptive. (You know, that sort of very vague jawline he has...)
Original Ryan - Tuesday, February 15 2011 @ 07:53 AM EST (#230275) #
I thought the "Snakeface" name was due to his baby-faced appearance that wasn't particularly intimidating, with the joke being that Downs went out and got a tattoo of a snake on his face to compensate.  I don't recall it having anything to do with mental toughness (or a lack thereof).
China fan - Tuesday, February 15 2011 @ 01:40 PM EST (#230296) #

In answer to my own question above, I came across an article that quotes Farrell on the five candidates for the two vacant slots in the starting rotation.  Farrell mentions these five candidates:  Drabek, Litsch, Zep, Richmond and .... Jo-Jo Reyes.   That's a surprise to me.  I can understand Brad Mills being bumped down the depth chart this year, since he lacks the obvious stuff that Farrell might prefer in a pitcher, but I had always assumed that Reyes was little more than a throw-in to the Escobar trade, and maybe a bullpen candidate at best.  He also battled with some significant injury issues in 2010, which makes him even more of a question mark.

Does anyone know more about Reyes, and why he would rank so high in Farrell's eyes?  I know that Reyes was mostly a starter in the minors, and he posted some very good numbers in 2008 and 2009 at the AAA level, and managed to break into the majors at age 22, followed by 113 major-league innings at the age of 23.  All of that looks pretty good on paper.  But the Braves seemed to give up on him rather quickly, and he struggled with injuries last season.  Does anyone know if Reyes has impressed scouts in the off-season?  Or is there evidence that the Braves made a mistake by dumping him?

Here is the story quoting Farrell on the five candidates for the two rotation slots:

Original Ryan - Tuesday, February 15 2011 @ 02:13 PM EST (#230298) #
Reyes is out of options, so I imagine the Blue Jays want to give him a serious look before they risk losing him on waivers.
10 Photos - #37 Scott Downs | 13 comments | Create New Account
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