Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition looks at what is in store for players, coaches and more!
Welcome to the last day of February. Spring Training has started for the Blue Jays games begin tomorrow! This just means that we are rolling right along to when the real games start; when the 2016 season begins. There are bound to be many story lines coming at us from the MLB pre-season, but the following is a collection of what could be for some Blue Jays. Let’s get to it:
*Over at The Star, Richard Griffin tries to make us all feel better about the recent hiring of Eric Wedge as Player Development Advisor. For some reason, this is a thing. There are those out there who insist that this hiring is meant to signal the end of John Gibbons‘ time with the Blue Jays. They feel that if things don’t go well for the team in 2016, Wedge will be ready to swoop in and relieve Gibby of his duties. This seems like the kind of conspiracy theory that could make sense…if you want it to. Or, we can take the hiring for what it was: Mark Shapiro gives a guy he knows a fairly cushy job working in baseball. Wedge insists (in the Griffin piece) that he is no threat to the manager’s throne; he is not looking to overthrow the current monarch. Maybe we can put this theory to rest.
*The impact that Mark Buehrle had on the Blue Jays pitching staff was a significant narrative last season. We know how much he helped Marcus Stroman in his maturation, etc. But, what we didn’t hear much of was the influence he had on, say, Marco Estrada. But, thanks to Ken Fidlin of the National Post, we get Estrada’s insight. See, Buehrle may be retiring, but his lessons are still active. Estrada talks about the ‘in game’ mental approach that Buehrle passed on to him. The trick, apparently, is to not think. It seems simple enough, but Estrada says that it is something that takes mental training.
*Melissa Couto of The Canadian Press (via TheRecord.com) tells us that Troy Tulowitzki is ready to rock with his new team. Even though he went through an entire playoff run with the Blue Jays, it really is like he’s on a new team. At least, it was. Now, thanks to some offseason bonding and a fresh Spring Training under way, Tulo feels right at home. You might recall when the boys went to Vegas to watch a UFC fight and Tulo was front and center with Josh Donbaldson, Ryan Goins and Stroman. It is good to hear that he finally feels comfortable. If he can live up to his billing, this club is going to be exciting this year…more so, I mean.
*Also from Couto, we get some insight into Casey Kotchman‘s decision to sign with the Blue Jays. This was an interesting signing for the club, given that they have Chris Colabello, Justin Smoak and Edwin Encarnacion all with a first baseman’s glove. But, as Couto points out, Kotchman will likely be heading to man the position in Buffalo. When a guy signs a minor league deal, you have to ask yourself what the motivation is. He has to look at the depth charts in Toronto and know he has a slim chance of playing in the big leagues. But, as Kotchman says, he has a chance to play for a winner, which is better than looking ahead at playing for a team that could lose 100 games. Fair enough.
*Ryan Lawrence of the Philly Voice shared an interesting interview with new Blue Jay, Domonic Brown. After falling from a highly touted prospect, Brown is now looking at a season where he will have to prove himself. In Toronto, he has some competition, but if he can tap into that ability from a few years ago, he very well could win the 4th outfielder spot. And, to his credit, Brown feels like he can do it. The interview was an opportunity to hear the confident, yet humble outfielder talk about his struggles and his outlook. He does not appear to hold any delusions of his situation, but plans on working hard, which is refreshing.
*At MLB.com, Gregor CHisholm makes my day with news(ish) on the recovery of Devon Travis. After finally discovering the real issue behind his shoulder trouble and having the necessary surgery to repair it, he is now on track with his rehab. Though, he is still expected to be out well into May, the good news here is that the 25 yr old is progressing. What’s more, it is encouraging that they club is not really telling him a timeline so he’ll focus on healing properly. Everyday, he gets up and receives treatment and workouts to strengthen his shoulder. Apparently, he feels good about his progress: “Every single day I come in and say I’m better than the day before, so that’s the most important thing right now.”
*Featured Image Credit: udo.d UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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