Results tagged ‘ Josh Towers ’

WEEKEND UPDATE

Minor League camp is underway and it’s time to turn our attention to more significant matters – like reporting baseball.   We have made our point and we are not going to waste your time by beating a dead horse on this space.   Again only here on “Inside the Chiefs” will you receive first hand knowledge of what’s going on in spring training with the major league club, Toronto and the Syracuse Chiefs.

Non-roster catcher Erik Kratz was the first player to be sent to minor league camp as the Jays minor league affiliates reported this weekend.

Jays righty Josh Towers pitched two innings today vs the Pirates and allowed only 1 hit, a solo home run to Pirates first baseman Brad Eldred in two innings of work.  Towers also struck out two batters and looked good in his first outing.  Also pitching today in a B-game were righthanders Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen.  In the lineup today are: Royce Clayton -ss, Greg Zaun -c, Lyle Overbay – 1B, Vernon Wells -cf, Troy Glaus – 3b, Matt Stairs – rf, Aaron Hill – 2b, Adam Lind – lf, Jason Phillips -c.

Over the weekend John Thomson also pitched well – two shutout innings and Shaun Marcum  pitched 2 innings, 1 run, 3 strikeouts. Francisco Rosario, who was slowed by back pain earlier this spring, pitched one shutout inning.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has said that Russ Adams would begin the season in Syracuse and play second base.  The Blue Jays hope that Adams can return to his 2004-2005 form when he played for the Chiefs and Blue Jays and batted over .280 playing shortstop.

Former Chiefs pitchers Dave Stieb and Pat Hentgen are in camp helping with the younger pitchers and throwing batting practice.

In yesterday’s win Curtis Thigpen (2), John-Ford Griffin and John Hattig combined for 4-RBI in their 7-4 win over the Rays.  On Saturday, Rob Cosby went 1 for 3 with Curtis Thigpen providing another RBI and, on Friday, Kevin Barker had a two-run home run and Ryan Roberts went 2 for 2.

Don’t forget that “Inside Pitch” will broadcast live from Dunedin, Florida beginning on March 19th when the voice of the Chiefs Bob McElligott and Chiefs General Manager John Simone provide player interviews beginning at 7PM all week long.

SPRING FLINGS

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.

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.

THURSDAY IN ORLANDO

It’s been a busy day already in Orlando today.  The Rule 5 Draft took place this morning and the Blue Jays took SS Jason Smith in the Major League portion of the draft.  Below is a copy of the Blue Jays press release on Smith.

          SMITH, 28, spent the 2006 season in the Colorado organization playing for both the Colorado Rockies and Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League. He was signed this past off-season (Nov 12) by the Chicago Cubs as a minor league free agent. The 6’3″, 200 lb., left handed hitting infielder batted .263 (26-99) with five home runs and 13 RBI in 49 games for the Rockies, while also posting a .291 average (41-141) with nine doubles, five triples, four home runs, and 23 RBI in 41 games at the AAA level in Colorado Springs. The native of Meridian, Mississippi has appeared in 166 Major League games covering the past six seasons (Cubs 2001, Tampa Bay 2002-03, Detroit 2004-05, Colorado 2006), and has played at all four infield positions over that span. 

The Blue Jays did not lose any players in the Rule 5 and did not make any selections in the Minor League phase of the draft.

Also in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 former SkyChiefs catcher Josh Phelps was selected by the New York Yankees.  Phelps who spent all of the 2006 season with the Governor’s Cup Champion Toledo Mud Hens had already signed a Minor League Deal with the Baltimore Orioles for 2007 but now will be added to the Yankees 40-man roster. 

One would think that the Yankees, who did not resign Craig Wilson, are bringing in Phelps to compete with Andy Phillips for playing time at first-base and DH.  With Damon, Abreu, Giambi, Matsui and Cano all hitting from the left side, Phelps could provide the power from the right side the Bronx Bombers are looking for.

After losing out on Ted Lilly yesterday it appears the Blue Jays have also lost out on the Gil Meche sweepstakes.  ESPN’s Steve Phillips is reporting that Meche will be signing a 5-year deal with the Royals pending a physical.

The Blue Jays are now expected to target Jeff Suppan and Mark Redman for their starting rotation.  If the team is unable to sign one of those guys the team would look to Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen, Francisco Rosario, Dustin McGowan and Josh Towers as possible 4th and 5th starters.  Rosario and McGowan are both out of options while Marcum and Janssen have options remaining and could return to Syracuse with out having to be designated for assignment.  The Blue Jays however may look to get another option year for McGowan (similar to a redshirt) because he missed a year due to an arm injury.  The Jays did the very same thing last year with Rosario.

New SkyChiefs president Ron Gersbacher and team mascot Scooch appeared on Bridge Street this morning with Rick Geary and Julie Abbott.  Gersbacher donated two 2007 season tickets for Bridge Street’s efforts in raising funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.  Also while on the show it was announced that the SkyChiefs are holding a special gathering next Monday, December 11th for a major announcement.

The team has been teasing media members this week with clues to what the press conference is about and while on the air handed out today’s clue a conductor’s hat.

JAYS ADD ROONEY LOAD UP ON PITCHING

The Toronto Blue Jays continue to load up on pitching by adding righthander  Matt Rooney to their 40-man roster.  Rooney, 26, signed as a free agent after spending most of the 2006 season at Sacremento (PCL) when he recorded a 2.95 ERA in 47-relief appearances. He also appeared in 3-games with Oakland.   Rooney pitched in the IL with Toledo in 2004 and 2005.  Rooney joins a group of off-season free agent pitching help that includes Germi Gonzalez, Beau Kemp, Blaine Neal, Jason Scobie and Jean Machi.

That list will join Blue Jays prospects (starters) Josh Banks, Casey Janssen, Dustin McGowan, Ty Taubenheim, Ismael Ramirez, David Purcey, Michael MacDonald, Kyle Yates, Ricky Romero and veteran Josh Towers and relievers Ryan Houston, Davis Romero, Francisco Rosario, Jamie Vermilyea, Lee Gronkiewicz, Jordan DeJong, Tracey Thorpe and possibly late season acquision Jermey Accardo.

That’s alot of pitching to choose from with a whole off-season to go.

For more information on Free Agent signings make sure to listen to “INSIDE PITCH” this Saturday, November 18th at 9:00 AM on ESPN Radio 1260 AM when Chiefs GM John Simone and Bob McElligott talk to Chad Mottola and Kevin Barker who will both return to Syracuse in 2007 and take your calls on anything baseball.

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