B.J. Ryan: A View From the Grassy Knoll
After watching closely and paying attention to the whole afternoon and evening as it unfolded at the Rogers Centre tonight, it seems like there is more than meets the eye surrounding the disablement of closer B.J. Ryan. There is a distinct feeling that the Jays are more comfortable with Ryan out of the closer's role the way he is currently throwing and, at the same time, Ryan would not be happy pitching middle relief, which the Jays likely suggested to him in a closed door meeting this afternoon.
The move that needed to be made right now was to get Ryan off the firing line until he returns to throwing at least 89-91 m.p.h on his fastball. At spring training he was 83-86. In April he has been 84-88. This has led to trying to overthrow, which has produced a lack of command, leading to the ratio of 14 baserunners and 17 outs. The amazing thing is the Jays had won all six games in which he had appeared. It was time to stop pressing their luck and they knew it. They are styarting to believe they might actually contend this season. Giving him 16 games to prove himself was the next step once they had decided not to place him on the DL at spring training and leave him in Florida to work out his problems which was suggested here.
Here are some reasons for thinking there may have been a puff of smoke from behind the Jays' fence.
1-The Ricky Romero DL and the Ryan DL were announced completely separate from one another when the easiest thing is always to announce them at the same time.
2-Cito Gaston insisted he heard about the Ryan injury after Wednesday's game; Ricciardi said he heard about it a few days ago. Maybe the truth is they both heard about it Thursday after they told B.J. in a meeting he would be giving way as closer to Scott Downs.
3-Both Cito and J.P. claimed they didn't know when the injury happened. Wouldn't it be logical to have asked B.J. when it did to see if that could explain his loss of spring training velocity.
4-After the Romero DL news was already out, Ricciardi was seen on the field talking with Brad Arnsberg on an empty field out near the bullpen while Roy Halladay threw his side session. Shortly after that, Ryan and Arnsberg huddled in a hallway in the clubhouse talking animatedly. Shortly after that Ryan was announced as on the DL. There was no e-mail or press release. It was clearly not expected because the official lineup cards handed out in the pressbox included Ryan on the active roster.
The, Jays with an unexpected hold on first place in the AL East, really dodged a bullet while Ryan was active, because Gaston, as he always has been, was loyal to his veteran closer. But enough was enough. This may be one of those injuries of convenience. Besides, who goes on the DL with a knot in the back of your shoulder if it just occured and without confirmation of an MRI?
We patiently await the findings of the Warren (Cromartie) Commission.