The Toronto Blue Jays minor league camp opened last week and games for their four affiliates will begin on Wednesday vs the Philadelphia Phillies organization. At the major league level, the parent club has begun sending down players including seven pitchers. Lefty Jo Matumoto joins righthanders Beau Kemp, Josh Banks, Ismael Ramirez, and yesterday Ryan Houston, Jean Machi and Tracy Thorpe found their way back to the Englebert Complex.
Only shortstop Sergio Santos and catcher Erik Kratz have been assigned from the group of non-pitchers.
First glance at the Jays pitching staff only Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, B.J. Ryan, Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, and Brian Tallet seem to be locks. That leaves probably five spots available and righthanders Jeremy Accardo and Brandon League if healthy will take up two of those. The other three spots, two are starting pitchers and one long reliever.
The candidates, Tomo Ohka, John Thomson, Josh Towers and Shaun Marcum are leading contenders with Victor Zambrano, Pete Walker and Geremi Gonzalez also in the mix. Francisco Rosario is out of options and can’t return to Syracuse.
Pitchers most likely left out and headed back to Syracuse include Dustin McGowan, Davis Romero, who was injured early in camp, Matt Roney, Ty Taubenheim, Lee Gronkiewicz, Blaine Neal, and Brian Wolfe.
Is there anything better at this time of the year than watching a Major League spring training game from Florida or Arizona? Tigers vs Mets today on SportsNet New York officially ended winter for me.
And with Spring games beginning onThursday, including the Jays vs Red Sox, we will try to provide some insight on Blue Jays player moves this spring. From the Blue Jays camp, it looks like Brandon League might be all right after all as he threw on the side for a second time without any pain. The Jays are also happy with Victor Zambrano’s pace and aren’t counting him out from making the roster, possibly as a reliever, this spring. 36 year-old Japanese lefty Jo Matumoto will be given an opportunity to pitch in Major League games this spring and who knows what he can do.
Jays skipper John Gibbons also indicated that rule 5 pick-up Jason Smith will play everywhere this spring as he tries to make the team as a utility player or the 25th man. Although Adam Lind is expected to begin the season in Syracuse, Gibbons isn’t ruling out him not making the team. Could the Jays still be interested in trading Reed Johnson or Alex Rios for help in the pitching department (starting pitcher or set-up man)?
Thanks go out to Assistant Professor of Marketing Scott Lathrop from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management for inviting Chiefs General Manager John Simone to participate in the “Marketing Speaker Series” on Wednesday night. John talked about Sports Marketing and Management, building interest in the community, developing alliances, the creation and launching of promotions, and the new branding of the Chiefs for the 2007 season.
The Chiefs hope to continue the association during the spring and summer sessions with Professor Lathrop and the university’s marketing program. The Marketing Speaker Series has been such a success this winter that even Post Standard reporter Matt Michael attended Wednesday night’s talk. Hopefully he enjoyed the presentation!
The Blue Jays pitchers and catchers officially reported on Sunday. In folloiwng the Toronto papers and BlueJays.com here are some of the early topics:
* Manager John Gibbons was given a one-year contract extension.
* Gibbons believes that should Shaun Marcum not win a spot in the rotation, he would make the Blue Jays as a reliever. Other young pitchers vying for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation, Casey Janssen, Dustin McGowan and Ty Taubenheim would all be sent to Syracuse to start.
* Another rotation candidate Josh Towers worked hard in the off-season with teammate Reed Johnson in Las Vegas and vows to take better care of his body this season.
* Victor Zambrano didn’t arrive in Dunedin until Monday due to visa problems. He is ahead of schedule progressing from elbow surgery but isn’t expected to be ready to pitch in the Majors until May or June.
With Spring Training starting for many major league teams this week we glanced through major league baseball rosters and below is a list of former Chiefs players invited to major league camps as non-roster players:
Brewers – Corey Thurman, Vince Perkins
Cardinals – Mike Smith, Miguel Negron
Devil Rays – Gary Glover
Diamondbacks – Rich Thompson
Dodgers – Ken Huckaby, Sandy Martinez
Giants – Luis Figueroa
Mariners – Aaron Small
Nationals – Chris Michalak, Wayne Lydon
Twins – Glenn Williams
Padres – Adrian Burnside, Todd Greene
Phillies – Brent Abernathy
Pirates – Kip Bouknight, John Wasdin
Rangers – Bruce Chen
Red Sox – Kevin Cash
Reds – Jason Kershner, DeWayne Wise
Royals – Alex Gonzalez
In addition the Blue Jays added John Ford Griffin and Erick Kratz to their spring training roster as well as Rob Cosby and Ryan Roberts who were designated for assignment in January and taken off the major league roster. Only Figueroa, Lydon and Burnside are from the Chiefs 2006 roster.