So I'm packing up my meagre belongings and heading back to Toronto, where an impending winter blast may force me to parachute from my flight into Pearson.
Al Ryan takes over today. Poor Al. They lost his baggage at LaGuardia last night. This proves once again that connecting flights are the bane of the sportswriter's existence. Or maybe it's still idiots who play for the Seattle Mariners - check the March 5th entry at 5:08 p.m. (Thanks to The Southpaw for the connect).
I return to work on the Gulf Coast on the 23rd. Here's what I expect to have happened by then:
- The Jays will have realized that there's no good reason to rush B.J. Ryan back onto the team. He'll be getting set for a 30-day rehab assignment to start the season.
- Regardless, Casey Janssen will have pushed himself into the starting rotation, leaving Brandon League in the set-up hot seat.
- Someone will have gotten injured. The usual odds are on a pitcher, but I'm paying very close attention to Matt Stairs' sprained ankle. Curious to see if he plays today, which was John Gibbons' prediction two days ago. If Stairs is worse off than advertised, Adam Lind gets his chance.
- A.J. Burnett will not be throwing curveballs. If that fractured nail hasn't grown back in in three-and-a-half months, why are they so optimistic that it will in the next few days? On the plus side, it gives him a chance to master that elusive change-up.
- The new, leaner Roy Halladay (hasn't anyone told you? This guy was always fit. But this spring he looks about ten pounds lighter) will be getting ready to tear into the season. Halladay looks suuuuper sharp, so far. And he looks angry. Both are good things.
- Scott Rolen and David Eckstein will have solidified their positions as vocal clubhouse leaders. The pair have been respectfully quiet thusfar. But you can see other players - Wells, Halladay, Hill, Thomas - being slowly drawn to them. It's a strange courting process. This will take a lot of pressure off Halladay, who prefers to live inside his own bubble.
- Frank Thomas will be on fire at the plate.
- Rod Barajas will be pushing hard to make himself the number-one catcher.
- I will follow through on my promise to travel with carry-on luggage only. All my love goes out to WestJet and their liberal baggage policy.