Rolen's coming back
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Okay, this looks like a more reasonable lineup than the one 24 hours earlier - the one that had all three catchers in there, Robinzon Diaz going 0-for-4 in his major-league debut, and also minus Alex Rios (flu) and Lyle Overbay (ankle) taking a sit.
SS David Eckstein
2B Aaron Hill
RF Alex Rios
CF Vernon Wells
DH Matt Stairs
LF Shannon Stewart
1B Lyle Overbay
C Gregg Zaun
3B Marco Scutaro
It’ll get even more normal looking tomorrow night in Kansas City, when Scott Rolen makes his debut as a Blue Jay – as an American Leaguer, in fact.
The big guy turned up in the Jays’ clubhouse about three hours before the series finale against the Rays in Disney World.
His much-awaited (much-needed) return comes 33 days – same as his jersey number – since taking that freak liner off the tip of his right middle finger during spring fielding practice. That’s a little over the mid-point of the original recovery prognosis of four-to-six weeks.
“There’s probably always a little more recovery time you can give it but I’ve convinced myself it’s time to play,” he said.
“I still have a pretty significant bone bruise on the end of (the finger). I feel it when I throw, I feel it when I hit, but I think my options were to sit and wait for it to heal or go out and play.”
Rolen also jokingly suggested the Class-A Dunedin Blue Jays would be better off without him. "An 0-for-9 with an error and the (scorer) could’ve given be two that inning," he said.
“It was a pretty exciting rehab stint, actually. “I’m thinking if they’re in a Florida State League pennant race, they were happy to see me go. I was killing them.” .
Any chance Rolen might’ve got himself inserted in the lineup for tonight’s series finale? Nope. At least that’s the idea.
“I think the plan is to take some BP (last night), get some ground-balls, watch a game, settle in a little bit,” Rolen said. “Not that I couldn’t go but, just the fact that I’ve played the last five, six days … well, I’m a little sore.”
Rolen also gets to make his debut in his favourite park – at least, stats-wise. During those annual Cardinals/Royals interleague games over the years, he’s a career .436 hitter at Kauffman Stadium (17-for-39), with three homers and a dozen RBIs.
Not official yet, but, in the post-game roster move to accommodate Rolen, Jays seemed likely to return catcher Diaz to Triple-A Syracuse.
Into last night, the Tampa Rays were an all-time 5-0 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, having swept the Texas Rangers here last May. In the five games, they’ve hit .346 and scored almost seven runs a game (34).
Just heard the new Tampa ballpark back in St. Pete – scheduled to open in 2012 – is nowhere near a sure thing. City citizens have a referendum on the matter in November and early polls suggest they’re very opposed to letting the Rays build on prime waterfront land. Which is why, the suggestion continues, is the team is going to continue fostering this relationship with the Disney folks in Orlando.