Results tagged ‘ Lyle Overbay ’

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.

ALUMNI REPORT: GROSS

As far as Syracuse alumni to report on this week, most of the news was bad news.

Gross_gabe1 Gabe Gross (’03-’05) was optioned by the Brewers to Triple-A Nashville last Thursday.  Gabe had appeared in 55 games this season and was hitting .202 with 4 HR and 9 RBI.

Gross was Traded by the Blue Jays along with Dave Bush and Zach Jackson for Lyle Overbay and spent all of the 2006 season in the bigs where he hit .274 with 9 HR and 38 RBI in 117 games.

For Gross it will mark his first time in the minors in nearly 2 years.  Gabe’s last Minor League at-bat came for the SkyChiefs at Pawtucket on August 31, 2005.

Gabe is taking everything with a great attitude and looking forward to being a regular in the lineup.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to go down and get some at-bats,” said Gross, 27. “It’s been two years since I’ve been able to play every day, so that’s going to be nice. I’m looking forward to waking up every day knowing my name is going to be in the lineup.”

The outfield situation in Milwaukee is pretty crowded both now and in the future.  Former Infielder Bill Hall is now the Brewers Center-fielder and is signed through 2010.  With Hall currently on the DL, Tony Gwynn Jr. has played in center and is hitting .275 with 8 SB in 58 games.  The Brewers could move Hall to left field next season to make room for Gwynn JR.  25-year old Corey Hart (.284-14-40 with 16 SB) has emerged as a solid option in Right field.  The current left field platoon of Geoff Jenkins and Kevin Mench both have expiring contracts at the end of the season and with the emergence of young talent in the outfield will probably not be re-signed.

Gross will certainly be called back up in September if not sooner and will be in the mix as a reserve outfielder next season if Jenkins and Mench are not brought back.  If Gross wants to be an everyday player in the Big Leagues, the time is now to showcase his talents for other teams.

“I have never been more confident in my ability to play every day,” Gross said. “I feel like if you put me in the lineup on the first of April and take me out the first of October, that my numbers won’t just be adequate, they’ll be very good. I have to convince somebody to give me that opportunity.”

In other alumni news, former SkyChiefs shortstop Cesar Izturis was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later.  Izturis is reunited with Jim Tracy, who managed Cesar in Los Angeles.

Pittsburgh pitcher John Wasdin who was 1-1, 5.95 in 12 appearances (’03) was outrighted to Indianapolis.

Former SkyChiefs catcher Jason Phillips was released when the Jays called up Curtis Thigpen.

LIND AND McGOWAN

Lind_adam David Srinivasan, a special contributor to ESPN.COM, mentioned Adam Lind and Dustin McGowan in his Minor Achievement: Adding it all up on Friday. 

Lind has hit a homer in each of the last two games and has found a home in the #2 slot in the Blue Jays lineup.  Hitting in front of Vernon Wells, Frank Thomas, Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay, Lind has scored 9 runs in 13 games.  For all you fantasy players with room on  your roster Lind would make a nice addition. 

Mcgowan McGowan has pitched outstanding this season although his 1-2 record doesn’t show for it.  In five starts McGowan has struck out 29 while allowing just 9 walks over 22 innings.  With Josh Towers having been moved to the bullpen Victor Zambrano will get the next shot as the Jays #5 starter.  If Zambrano also falters the Jays have a nice insurance policy in Triple-A with McGowan.  If you noticed yesterday the Blue Jays five spot started and McGowan is starting on the same day in the Syracuse rotation.

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.

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