Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays as Spring Training competition reaches its boiling point.
Spring Training is not just a time for getting reps, or stretching out. It can also be a time to compete for a job that season. That is definitely the case for some of the Toronto Blue Jays. Here is a look at how some of that competition is impacting the players themselves. The following is the latest in news and notes surrounding Canada’s favorite team.
*Easter is a time for findings eggs. Turns out, Drew Hutchison very well could have one on his noggin as he was hit in the head when A.J. Jimenez attempted to throw out a would be base stealer on Sunday. Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun tells us that he is OK and may have pitched himself into the conversation of the 5th spot in the rotation. While that may be unlikely, the play itself was a bit odd. Hutch crouched down to get out of the way of the throw and was rewarded by taking the throw in the bean.
This may, or may not be a good time to harken back to another throw back to the pitcher that went awry. Remember Russell Martin‘s throw that hit Shin Soo Choo?
*Sticking with the Toronto Sun, Fidlin breaks down the offseason each AL East team had and how they stack up heading into the season. Essentially, the division will be closer than we might like to admit. The Rays do not have the star power other teams have, but could be dangerous if their pitching is healthy. The Red Sox have a questionable rotation, but lots of homegrown young talent. The Yankees are aging, but that doesn’t seem to stop them. The Orioles…well, they have a big offense, but the pitching will be the question. It’s easy to look at the division and say that the Blue Jays have a good shot at repeating as division champions. But, the reality is that each team has flaws and questions, which will make for exciting baseball!
*Bob Elliott brings us an interview Jose Bautista did with the media as the Blue Jays’ longest serving member. Each spring, the most senior player speaks about the state of his club before the season begins. Joey Bats was his usual candid self. He talked about the improved chemistry in the clubhouse, the rest of the division and a host of other topics. He mentioned Darrell Ceciliani as a guy who stands out to him. “The kid can hit, he will contribute”. When asked about projecting 2016, he said it doesn’t matter how many homeruns he hits if the club doesn’t win. His focus is clearly on winning, but he is not going to project a win total. He says, “One more than the second place team”. His responses clearly indicate a singular focus. But, he ended on a note that is pure Bautista classic. When asked if he would do this interview next season in Montreal or Dunedin, he said, “That is up to Mr Shapiro”. One can be sure that he is referring to his contract situation, rather than the decision of venue.
*Over at Sportsnet.ca, Shi Davidi tells us that Michael Saunders is putting this offseason’s trade rumors behind him. The rumor was that the Blue Jays would send him to the Angels, Cincinnati would send them Jay Bruce and the Reds would get a bunch of prospects from both. The rumor could have a negative impact on a player who is coming back from missing a season and trying to prove himself. “I want to show everybody why Toronto traded for me last year. I was able to play nine games, be it basically on one leg, last year. I want to prove to everybody that I’m here for a reason. And for me, too.” So far this spring, he is doing just that.
*Rosie DiManno brings us a piece on the evolution of Chris Colabello and it is an interesting take of his journey through failure, perception and redemption. This time last season, Colabello looked to be on his last major league legs. After being cast aside by the Minnesota Twins, who didn’t take an injury to his thumb into account, the Blue Jays picked him up, but sent him to Buffalo to start the season. It would be very easy to get down on oneself and whatnot. But, Colabello had an attitude change last season and it ended up paying off:
That last year I made a decision in my head that I didn’t need anybody to tell me I could or couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t need anybody to tell me I was a big leaguer. I knew I was. It might sound egotistical, but it was really a transition for me. I was at peace with what I was capable of, my ability to do it, where for a long time I was in search of approval. I was in search of everybody’s pat on the back — ‘hey, you can’ — or trying to impress people. When I finally decided that I didn’t need to impress anyone anymore and I just needed to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and say, ‘Hey, you’re okay’ that was kind of what happened. It seemed like the stars lined up.
*Finally, Brendan Kennedy brings us an interesting look at the competitive nature of Aaron Sanchez. It was present at an early age and it is what a Blue Jays scout really took note of when the righty was 17 yrs old. It was an interaction he had with an opposing player that happened to hit him by a pitch. Sanchez retaliated by coming up and in and then buckling him on a breaking pitch to send the opponent back to the dugout. The Sanchize stared him down all the way back to his seat. It is that fire that drives him to want to start in 2016. Whether the team goes that way or not remains to be seen.
*Featured Image Credit: udo.d UNDER: CC BY-SA 2.0
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER@JAYSFROMCOUCH AND LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE JAYS NEST PODCAST