AL BEast Notebook – March 20
- Blue Jays were well-represented on the WBC champion Dominican team this month, with Jose Reyes hitting leadoff and Edwin Encarnacion batting cleanup for the team that went a perfect 8-0 in the tournament. They each hit doubles in the first inning to give the DR 2-0 lead in the final game, which would be all they needed. Reyes and Encarnacion were also honored by selection onto the All-World Baseball Classic Team.
- Closer Casey Janssen has been dealing with soreness in his right shoulder but made a step towards being ready for Opening Day with an outing in a Minor League game on Sunday. “We’re going to see how he feels tomorrow; it’s a day-by-day thing,” said pitching coach Pete Walker. “I’m adamant that he’s not going to go unless he’s 100 percent, not 95 percent, not 97 percent.” He will need to make a few Grapefruit League appearances, throw on back-to-back days and feel good afterward to really be ready to pitch when the games matter. There isn’t much time left in Spring Training but he has not been ruled out yet. In the meantime, Sergio Santos will regain his place as closer until Janssen is ready.
In other injury news, third baseman Brett Lawrie played catch today for the first time since straining his rib muscle on March 7. He reports no problems and hopes to be ready for Opening Day. I couldn’t help but notice that he got “hurt” playing in a pre-tournament game for Team Canada and is back in action the day after the WBC concluded. Just saying…
- As for the guys that have been playing official Spring Training games: Melky Cabrera (.356, 11 RBI in 15 games) is picking up where he left off last summer, Adam Lind (.400 in 16 games) is hitting well, and Jose Bautista (4 home runs) is showing he still has power in his wrist after all. Speedy Emilio Bonifacio has stolen seven bases without being caught.
- So there is Spring Training, and then there are the Minor League games. Today in the Grapefruit League, Jeremy Jeffress, Dave Bush and Guillermo Moscoso (who?) pitched for the Blue Jays while R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson pitched for the AAA team. I don’t think those patterns will continue much longer.