Results tagged ‘ Brandon League ’

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.

FINAL ROSTER DECISIONS MADE

The Toronto Blue Jays made their final few decisions and the result caused a ripple effect on their minor league system.  The Blue Jays decided to send down to the Chiefs pitchers Geremi Gonzalez and Brian Tallet, catcher Sal Fasano and designate pitcher Francisco Rosario for assignment.

The Chiefs roster currently looks like this with still a few decisions to be made:
STARTING ROTATION:  Four kids and a veteran.  Dustin McGowan, Josh Banks, Ty Taubenheim and Ismael Ramirez made 60 AAA-starts in 2006.  They all should be improved in their second season.  Gonzalez a veteran will anchor the staff with Jamie Vermilyea and Jason Scobie also available for long relief or spot staring.

BULLPEN:  Tallet is the lone lefty and will be used in situational roles, while newcomer Blaine Neal assumes the closer role.  Set-up men include former Red Wing Beau Kemp, who helped Rochester to the I.L. Governors Cup Finals, Matt Roney who recorded an ERA under 3.00 with Sacramento last season, Ryan Houston who pitched exceptional from April-June last year before a terrible month of July balooned his ERA and newcomer Brain Wolfe, who was acquired in the Corey Koskie trade last season and bounced around from A-Dunedin and AA-New Hampshire in 2006.  Wolfe could be the sleeper in this group.

CATCHING:  Veteran Sal Fasano backs up big league catching prospect Curtis Thigpen.  A major improvement over last seasons defensively challenged duo of Mike Mahoney and Jason Phillips.

INFIELDERS:    Kevin Barker returns for his third season at 1B, Russ Adams returns to Syracuse this time to play second base, Slick fielding Ray Olmedo takes over at shortstop while John Hattig returns for his third season at 3B.  Ryan Roberts will man the utility role and is very good at all three positions 2B, SS and 3B.   The Chiefs should be very much improved up the middle with Olmedo and Adams, both have played in the major leagues, while Barker is very good around the bag at first.  Hattig’s range is average at best, but should make up for it with his bat (.277 with 30 doubles last season).  Roberts had a great spring and will see plenty of action.

OUTFIELDERS:  Three spots with five quality players.  Jeff Duncan will see most of the action in center field and can play defence.  His speed on the turf at home should make him a .300 hitter.  Super prospect Adam Lind will play left field while veterans Mike Vento (AAA All-Star at Columbus two years ago) and Chiefs Fan Favorite Chad Mottola share time in rightfield.  2005 MVP John-Ford Griffin is healthy and will get most of the DH at bats.

The Chiefs still need to drop one pitcher and will add Francisco Rosario and Brandon League at some point in early April with more changes yet to be made.

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.

LEAGUE OPTIONED TO SYRACUSE

Jordan Bastian of BlueJays.com is reporting that reliever Brandon League, who appeared to be the heir apparent to Justin Spier as the set-up man this season for the Jays, was optioned to Syracuse today.  League has battled a sore shoulder and mechanical difficulties with his arm-angle and has lost velocity.

Former SkyChiefs third-baseman and fan favorite Glenn Williams is one of a few non-roster invitees battling for the final spot on the Twins roster.  Former SkyChiefs’ pitchers Zach Jackson and Corey Thurman were both sent down yesterday by the Milwaukee Brewers.

THOMSON GIVES UP SIX RUNS IN CHIEFS DEFEAT

The Toronto Blue Jays had two pitchers battling for a starting rotation spot pitching on Monday against the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies minor leaguers. Righthander Tomo Ohka was solid as he shut down the Yankees over five innings allowing only 1-run in a 9-1 victory. Fellow righty John Thomson was not as sharp as he gave up 6-runs, in 5-innings of work against the Phillies AAA-Ottawa team that defeated the Syracuse Chiefs 7-2.

The Chiefs lineup today included: Ryan Klosterman 2B, Sal Fasano C, Adam Lind LF, John Hattig 3B, Chip Cannon DH, David Smith RF, Dustin Majewski CF, Erik Kratz 1B, Manny Mayorson SS.

The Chiefs scored single runs in the 4th on a RBI single by Chip Cannon and one-run in the 6th on a RBI single by Adam Lind. The Chiefs banged out 8-hits off of five Scranton pitchers. Sal Fasano and Adam Lind each had two hits, while Erik Kratz had a two-out double in the ninth.

After Thompson departed in the fifth, Dustin McGowan pitched three innings giving up 1-run (solo home run) in the sixth and righthander Beau Kempwho pitched for Rochester last season tossed one scoreless inning, striking out one.

The Chiefs are off to Tampa to face Scranton on Tuesday with Ty Taubenheim expected to pitch for the Chiefs.

Don’t forget to listen to “Inside Pitch” on 1260 AM ESPN Radio on Tuesday live from Dunedin, Florida as Chiefs radio announcer Bob McElligott moves over to the Blue Jays minor league complex and talks with Chiefs skipper Doug Davis and Director of Player Development **** Scott. Today Bob took in the Jays vs Yankees game at Knology Park and talked with Jays catcher Greg Zaun, Second Baseman Aaron Hill and pitcher Josh Towers and Brandon League.

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.

SPRING TRAINING GAMES BEGIN

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!

THIS AND THAT

Former Chiefs players Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green and Chris Woodward will be on display this weekend as the New York Mets try to reach the World Series for only the 5th time in the club’s history….While the Tigers continue to roll in the ALCS…Our picks are Tigers vs Mets….The 10th Annual North Area Athletic Dinner will take place tonight (October 13th) at the Holiday Inn Liverpool.  Honorees include Chiefs Directors Doug Logan and Armand Magnarelli.  Tonights proceeds benefit Youth at Risk Programs in Onondaga County….Don’t forget that next weekend the Chiefs 1st Annual Merchandise and Memorbilia Sale at Alliance Bank Stadium.  The Stadium opens at 9:00 AM Saturday, October 21st – with bats, balls, jackets, caps, helmets, cleats all at reduced prices.  There will be candy for the kids, Hot dogs, cider, apples, batting practice on the field (weather permitting) and a visit by Scooch….And speaking of Scooch, he will be at the ONCENTER, on Saturday, October 14th for the Kinney Drugs Baby Expo at 12 noon….CLUB CHIEFS returns for another season beginning in November when the Chiefs open their indoor batting cages to area players and teams.  There are monthly and daily rates.  For more information on prices and times please call the Chiefs office at 474-7833….. More Cory Lidel irony, 2006 Chiefs infielder Ryan Roberts hit his first ML home run off Lidle back in August…..Next Friday, October 20th, LeMoyne College honors Chiefs COO and Vice President Tex Simone into their Gold Wave Hall of Fame with former Chiefs pitcher Jon Ratliff….Word out of Orlando, Florida, home of Chiefs icon Chad Mottola is that the Blue Jays have offered Chad a contract for the 2007 season…..Did anyone realize that eight Chiefs pitchers (Casey Janssen, Shawn Marcum, Ty Taubenhiem, Dustin McGowan, Francisco Rosario, Brian Tallet, Brandon League and Davis Romero) spent more days in the major leagues than in AAA-Syracuse in 2006.  Despite their call-ups that group won 19-games, and likely would have won a few more if they were not needed in Toronto this season…..Syracuse Crunch open their 2006-2007 season tonight.  Good Luck to Crunch players and Staff and to the hardest working GM in Minor League Hockey Jim Sarosy.  We will be there seated in section 21…..College Football prediction time…West Virgina 37 Orange 7…..Have a good weekend everyone,  see you next week when I’m sure the topic of grass at a baseball stadium near you will be a hot subject

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