Spring Training, The End Is Near

Monday, March 24 2014 @ 11:59 AM EDT

Contributed by: Gerry

And so the last week of spring training begins.  This week includes a trip to Montreal before the team reverses direction and returns to Tampa to face the Rays one week from today.  Things are looking better today than they did a week or two ago.  Back then it looked like no-one wanted to be the fifth starter, now we have a competition.  But first the news.  Anthony Gose, Mike Nickeas, Chris Getz and Steve Tolleson were all sent down today.  It will be interesting to see how Gose reacts to his demotion, he was unhappy last year to be sent down.  Gose improved his hitting as spring training progressed and finishes with a 250 average.  He needs to show some hitting skills in AAA.  In other news Munenori Kawasaki will not be part of the team but he remains in camp.  I assume that if he can catch on with a major league team the Jays will let him go.  Finally Jose Reyes is going for an MRI on his hamstring.  The Jays say it is just to confirm that nothing major is wrong but it doesn't sound good.

A week ago it looked like no-one wanted the fifth starters job.  but over last week Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond and Dustin McGowan all pitched well.  The only contender who didn't pitch well was JA Happ who the Jays want to be the fifth starter.  Even Jeremy Jeffress pitched well in one appearance.  If the Jays are to clear out some bodies from their bullpen jam through a trade, it will happen this week too. 

The offense has been hitting well.  The first seven hitters in the expected lineup are ready for the season to start.  Colby Rasmus has not hit top gear yet but he missed time with a sore neck.  And Ryan Goins, today named as the starting second baseman, is hitting .176 with a 452 OPS.

The battle for backup catcher is close.  Thole has been hitting better this year than last but is still way behind Kratz.  Dickey prefers Thole but will the Jays choose defense or offense?  At second base they chose defense, for catcher who knows?

Matt Tuiasosopo is in camp and playing today.  If the Jays get down to seven relievers at some point who will the fourth bench player be?  A catcher, Sierra and Izturis take the first three spots.  That leaves either the third catcher or Tuiasosopo as the fourth.  It looks like it might be Tui's job to lose.