Jays From the Couch brings you the latest Toronto Blue Jays news & links. This edition: Donaldson, pitching depth & more!
Let’s go! We have Toronto Blue Jays baseball today, y’all! Toronto will begin it’s 2017 Spring Training schedule today against Atlanta and we couldn’t be more excited, even if it is just exhibition baseball and the results have absolutely zero meaning or impact. It’s been a long winter and baseball is back!
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* It would appear that everyone is super excited about how Josh Donaldson is progressing after straining his calf muscle to start the spring. The sight of him on crutches and hobbling out to do interviews was one of the more frightening scenes a Blue Jays fan could see. The good news is that he hurt himself very early on, so there is plenty of time to heal. AND, all signs are looking good:
#BlueJays pleased with how Josh Donaldson has progressed from calf strain per John Gibbons. Still expected to need a couple weeks.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) February 24, 2017
At Sportsnet.ca, we hear from Blue Jays trainer, George Poulis, who tells us that The Bringer of Rain is doing well. Poulis says, “We expect him to be ready bu the beginning of the season, if not sooner. We’re working out his entire body through our “high performance” staff.” The idea, which is both obvious, and genius, is to keep the rest of his body in tip top shape until his calf if better and then the whole works are good to go.
* At The Toronto Sun, Steve Buffery brings us some comments from manager, John Gibbons, approach to the early part of Spring Training. It will come as no surprise to hear that the proven veterans like Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin will be eased into action this spring. Really, this time of year is for them to get back into form for a full season, so a lighter workload can be expected. That said, the younger guys don’t have that kind of luxury.
There is no comfort for them, no assurance of making the team or anything like that to hang their hats on. Instead, they’ll need to work their butts off to show management what they can do. That is not to say that any amount of effort will be enough to supplant one of the big league stars, but it will go a long way to earning future considerations. When Gibby spoke of the young kids, he was quick to point out Richard Urena and Lourdes Gourriel Jr as players he will be keeping an eye on. Gibby went so far as to call Urena the MVP of last year’s Sprign Training. And, Gourriel Jr will get a nice look simply because he cost so much.
* Buffery continues his coverage of Spring Training with an interesting commentary on the Blue Jays’ pitching depth. He says that the club is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with its depth. That is not a phrase that we’ve heard with regards to this team in a very long time. There once was a time when they depended on those make something out of nothing kind of deals, the ones that often do not work out. But, over the last couple of seasons, the argument can be made that there haven’t been those kinds of deals.
The immediate rebuttal would be Mat Latos, who is 29 and far from his previously successful form from a few years ago. But, the Blue Jays signed him to a minors deal in the hopes of adding him as depth. The difference now is that Toronto does not need a move like this to pay big dividends. In fact, ideally, Latos wouldn’t be needed at all. Ideally, the starting 5 will have another season of remarkable health and/or some youngster like Casey Lawrence can step up and force their way onto the roster. Heck, Joe Biagini very well could be transitioned to a starting role. The signing of Latos is far from the “lightning in a bottle” deal from the past.
* At The Star, Laura Armstrong brings us some commentary from Blue Jays players in reaction to the efforts of MLB to eliminate the intentional walk. Major League Baseball is looking to eliminate “dead time” in the game of baseball (which, ugh). Some Blue Jays had some things to say about eliminating the 4 pitch free pass:
For an in depth discussion on MLB Pace of Play, check out our latest from Jays from the couch radio!
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