Results tagged ‘ AJ Burnett ’

Former Chiefs ready for MLB playoffs

With the Major League Baseball playoffs set to begin this afternoon, here’s a look at the former Syracuse players who will be participating in this year’s post-season:

Werth, Jayson (5).jpgHudson, Orlando - Chuck Wainwright (1).JPG

Philadelphia Phillies
Miguel Cairo, IF (1996)
Scott Eyre, RHP (2001)
Jayson Werth, OF (2002-’03) (pictured top)
New York Yankees
AJ Burnett, RHP (2006-’07)
Chad Gaudin, RHP (2005)
Eric Hinske, IF/OF (2003)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Casey Blake, IF (1999-2000)
Orlando Hudson, IF (2001-’02) (pictured bottom)
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter, RHP (1997, 2002)
Dave McKay, 1B Coach (1979)
Colorado Rockies
Glenallen Hill, 1B Coach (1987-’89)
Minnesota Twins
Rick Stelmaszek, Bullpen Coach (1976)
Keep in mind that 15 of the last 16 World Series champions have had at least one former Syracuse player on their roster.  The only world champion since 1991 without a former Chiefs player on the active roster was the 2003 Marlins, but the Fish did have former Chiefs outfielder Bill Robinson on the bench as the team’s hitting coach.  (Sorry Boston & Anaheim fans.)
Enjoy the playoffs everybody!

ROSTER DECISIONS SOON TO BE MADE

The Toronto Blue Jays are down to their final week of baseball in Dunedin, Florida before making the trip North to begin the season against the New York Yankees on March 31st and roster spots are due to be made.

Position players (catchers, infielders and outfielders) seem to be set with Gregg Zaun and Rod Barajas at catcher with non-roster invitee Sal Fasano likely to be released rather than sent to AAA-Syracuse.

Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill, David Eckstein, Scott Rolen will start in the infield with Marcus Scutaro and John MacDonald providing back-up at every position. Frank Thomas is the Designated Hitter.

That leaves four outfield spots with Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Matt Stairs all set. The Blue jays must make a decision on Reed Johnson or Shannon Stewart for the final spot. Many teams have inquired about the Jays surplus and a trade could help alleviate the situation.

Non-roster infielder Hector Luna and outfielder Matt Watson could be sent to AAA-Syracuse by the end of the week.

The pitching staff includes a rotation of Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan and Shawn Marcum. Righty Jesse Litsch is slated to be the number 5-guy in the rotation and the Blue Jays have done nothing to suggest he won’t, unless a late season trade occurs.

The Bullpen has Jeremy Accardo as the closer until B.J. Ryan returns, while Brandon League, Jason Frasor and Scott Downs appear set. That leaves three spots remaining for 10-remaining pitchers in camp.

The Jays will likely keep one additional lefty to Scott Downs and holdover Brian Tallet would seem to be the guy. But the Jays also brought to camp John Parrish, Mike Gosling and Jesse Carlson who have all pitched well. In addition, they picked up another lefty Billy Murphy last week from Arizona.
If Tallet makes the club look for the remainder to be sent to Syracuse.

That leaves two spots for righthanders with rule five selection Randy Wells and Brian Wolfe leading the pack. They are being challenged by free agent spring training pick-up Armando Benitez, Shawn Camp and Kane Davis.

Either way there are still 19 pitchers in camp with only 12 roster spots available. This week games will decide who wins jobs in April. Stay tuned.

LEAGUE BACK WITH CHIEFS, MAYBE…

Righthanded pitcher Brandon League who never really was able to pitch this spring has been optioned to Syracuse.  The hard throwing reliever has had trouble with his velocity and will likely spend time in Dunedin before making an appearance in Syracuse with the Chiefs.

The Blue Jays meanwhile need to make a few decisions this week now that League will not be part of their plans to start the season.

The rotation is nearly set with Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Gustavo Chacin and Tomo Ohka set.  The fifth spot should go to Josh Towers who has pitched well enough to earn another chance.

BJ Ryan, Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Jason Frasor also should be assured spots.  That leaves John Thomson, Victor Zambrano, Geremi Gonzalez, Jeremy Accardo, Casey Janssen and Francisco Rosario all fighting for three spots.  Zambrano and Janssen look like they are the front runners.  While Rosario is out of options, and Thomson won’t begin throwing again until Friday.  Gonzalez and Accardo look like they are ticketed to the Chiefs.

The Blue Jays could also help their bullpen by pulling off a late spring training trade or claiming someone off waivers this week.

DUNEDIN NOTEBOOK

The Toronto Blue Jays lost to the Philadelphia Phillies tonight in Dunedin, 10-6, on a beautiful 70 degree night at Knology Park.  Righthander Josh Towers took the loss, allowing 5-runs in 4 2/3 innings.  Towers, who is battling for the 5th spot in the Jays rotation, actually pitched better than his line would indicate.  With John Thomson now out of the mix with tightness in his shoulder, Towers could claim that spot behind Halladay, Burnett, Chacin and Ohka.

Ryan Roberts launched a 400 foot double off the center field wall and was robbed of a base hit in the 9th.  Rob Cosby, Justin Singleton and Jeff Duncan all saw action in tonight’s game.

Righty Jeremy Accardo was touched for a two-run shot by Chase Utley, while Blaine Neal also gave up 2 runs in the ninth on 4 hits.  Brian Wolfe pitched another scoreless inning and remains in the mix as a non-roster invitee.  Wolfe was acquired from Milwaukee last season in the Corey Koskie trade.  Last season he began the year in Dunedin and finished up with New Hampshire.

Chiefs season ticket holder Peter White and his lovely wife attended tonight’s game in Dunedin – his second contest of the day.  Peter tells us that he will be at tomorrow’s game,Pirates vs Blue Jays, before his return to Syracuse for the Home Opener on April 14.

JAYS BEGIN TO DELETE ROSTER

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.

JAYS KEEP ADDING PITCHING

The Toronto Blue Jays added another pitcher to their 2007 roster yesterday when they signed righthanded starting pitcher Tomo Ohka.  The 31 year old native of Japan has spent the past eight years in the major leagues with Boston (1999-2001), Montreal (2001-2004), Washington (2004) and Milwaukee (2005-2006).

The adddition of Ohka gives the Jays five starters with major league experience, Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, John Thompson and Ohka.  That leaves Josh Towers, Shawn Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen, four pitchers who were expected to fill that fourth or fifth spots now destined to start the year in Syracuse.

Although they both (Thompson and Ohka) have been injured during the 2006 season, they also have won 13 -games as a starting pitcher in the major leagues during their careers.  Both pitchers were signed at bargain basement prices and could become the steals of the year if they are healthy.

For the Chiefs sake here’s hoping they are.

WINTER MEETINGS RECAP

With the Baseball Winter Meetings from Orlando, FL concluded it’s time to analyze moves made and not made by the parent Toronto Blue Jays General Manager JP Riccardi.  By striking out on Ted Lilly and Gil Meche the Jays saved between 30-40 million on payroll over the next four years.  Lilly ended up receiving 10-million per year and Meche 11-million.  The often injury prone Lilly was not worth the gamble over four years, while Meche was inconsistent in Seattle over the past three years.  With Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett as solid number one and two starters, the Jays need only to add a number three or four guy to their rotation.  Gustavio Chacin who has won 24 games the past two seasons could be a number three.  That leaves Josh Towers, Shawn Marcum or Dustin McGowan to battle for the fifth spot that with off-days makes between 24-26 starts a year….Lost in all the non-pitching moves was the players Toronto picked up this off-season.  Frank Thomas as a full-time Designated Hiitter was huge.  Matt Stairs who hit 14 home runs and drove in 51 runs last season will replace Frank Cattalanatto and provide more power off the bench.  By deciding on Greg Zaun over Bengie Molina and Rod Barajas, the Jays pitching staff, who liked Zaun better will be more comfortable on the mound and the addition of Royce Clayton gives the Jays and up-grade on offense up the middle….NAME DROPPING at the Dolphin Hotel:  seen talking in the lobby were Chiefs Executive Vice President Tex Simone with former Chiefs manager and Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox and his infield teamate on the 1970 Championship team Matt Galante now working with Houston.  Phillies GM Pat Gillick looks forward to visiting Syracuse this season to see his AAA-club that has moved to Ottawa from Scranton.  Brewers Assistant GM Gord Ash reports that his son Aaron, a frequent visitor to Syracuse when Gord was the boss in Toronto, has made the travel team of his area hockey club in Milwaukee.  Longtime Blue Jays trainer and Director of Florida Operations Ken Carson will step down this year after 30-years of service to the Blue Jays.  Ken will remain on as a consultant for the Florida based operation in Dunedin.  Longtime Los Angeles Angeles Scout Moose Stubing has left that team to work for the Washington Nationals.  Moose has been a frequent visitor to Syracuse over the years.  RULE 5 HELP:  The Blue Jays selected infielder Jason Smith from the Cubs in the rule 5 major league draft.  Smith, 28, will be placed on the 40-man roster of Toronto.  If he fails to make the club out of spring training, Smith can be sent to Syracuse or offered back to the Cubs for half the waiver price of $25,000.   At 28 years old Smith would likely clear and give the Chiefs additional infield potection.  At the present time, infielders include Chip Cannon and Kevin Barker at first base, Russ Adams and Ryan Roberts at second base, Sergio Santos and possibly Jason Smith at shortstop and John Hattig and Rob Cosby at third.  It’s more than likely that only six of the eight players begin the year in Syracuse.  The Jays also signed another big-time minor league free agent that will be added to the roster soon.  Look for an announcement on our website next week.

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