Griffin: Jays Monday notes from Safeco in Seattle
TUESDAY at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. LH Ricky Romero (1-0, 1.32) vs. RH Michael Pineda (0-1, 4.50) TV: SNET RADIO: FAN 590
WEDNESDAY at Mariners, 3:40 p.m. RH Kyle Drabek (1-0, 1.29) vs. LH Jason Vargas (0-0, 1.35) TV: SNET-1 RADIO: FAN 590
THURSDAY off day in Boston
EDWIN ENCARNACION NOT SIGNED AS A THIRD BASEMAN...WHY IS HE PLAYING THERE?
When Edwin Encarnacion was signed as a free agent, it was supposed to be as a designated hitter and a backup first baseman. That's the way it was announced. The obvious fact from 2010 was that his erratic play at third base did not take away from the fact that when he was in the lineup he produced. Suddenly Encarnacion is back as the starting third baseman and has made four errors in four starts at the hot corner. Why?
“When we signed him again there was a lot of moving parts,” GM Alex Anthopoulos said. “Vernon (Wells) was still on the team. We acquired (Rajai) Davis. We didn't know where he was going to play. We knew (Jose) Bautista had the ability to play third base.
“There was no question trading Vernon so late in the off-season impacted a lot of things. Then obviously when we got to spring training I thought Jose played very well at third. We knew we were going to continue to play Edwin at third just from a roster standpoint. It's nice to have someone that you can put there from time to time and he looked a lot better.
“There's no queston the error totals from the first few games are certainly high, but I remember there were spurts last year where he might make a few errors and then go a few weeks where he would look really good, look really sharp. I'm just hoping he went through as little bit of a rut early and he's going to bounce back and end up being fine. It's so early and I know this is part of the game and I try to catch myself and not get too emotional too early, try and stay objective and stay even-keeled. We continue to evaluate it.”
On Monday, Juan Rivera sat, while Jayson Nix played third base and Encarnacion was the DH.
RIVERA SLUMPING AS DH AND PLAYER
In the series against the Angels, Juan Rivera swung the bat poorly, going a soft 3-for-13 and sometimes ran the bases disinterestedly, once going into second base standing up and slowing down as Maicer Izturis completed a double play. In most other at-bats when he put the ball in play, he never even reached first base, peeling off to the dugout after the out was made. He was spoken to by the coaching staff when the egregious DP occurred. On Monday, against Felix Hernandez in the opener against the M's, Rivera was on the bench.
“Rivera is off to a slow start like a lot of our players are,” GM Alex Anthopoulos said. “Again you have to remind yourself it's a long season. I think last April Bautista hit .214. John Buck was in the one-somethings. Lyle Overbay for two months got off to a slow start.
“Juan's been a productive hitter. He's only 32. Swinging the bat at spring training he was squaring balls up and hitting them hard. It's just one of those things, he's in a bit of a funk. He knows it. You can tell he's frustrated, just trying to work on some things, but he's too good a hitter, too accomplished a hitter to not snap out of it.”
FRANCISCO AND MORROW GETTING CLOSER
The injured starter Brandon Morrow is scheduled to make his second rehab start at A-Dunedin on Tuesday night. Meanwhile Frank Francisco was cuffed around by the Clearwater Phillies on Sunday and needs more work before returning to the Jays.
“We're going to see how (Brandon's) next start goes, how deep he's going to go, how his arm feels,” Anthopoulos said. “It's possible one (more start), no more than two. We're hopeful one, but we're just going to continue to evaluate it. We're going to make sure that he's built up enough.
“With Frankie, we don't have a finite number right now. He's going to continue to throw, continue to get him some reps. He barely threw in the spring, two or three innings. Even you look at a guy like (Octavio) Dotel. His thing was to get 10 appearances or so. Wer're not married to that number for Frankie -- and again performance isn't everything. Brandon Morrow was up to 97 (m.p.h.) and he got hit around. But it's more about building him up stamina wise. Frankie is going to be evaluated outing by outing. When he's back, he's going to be fine.”
DOWN ON THE FARM
AAA-Las Vegas on Sunday lost 8-5 to Fremont. CF Darin Mastroianni was 3-for-4. LF Eric Thames was 2-for-4 and drove in a pair. 3B Brett Lawrie made his second error of the season. RF Adam Loewen collected his first hit and is batting .100.
AA-New Hampshire beat Trenton 5-0, behind the 5-2/3 innings of Willie Collazo. LF Adam Calderone stroked a 3-run double.
A-Dunedin lost 5-4 to Clearwater. Impressive RHP Asher Wojciechowski pitched five shutout innings of two-hit ball. It was his first start in his pro debut. RHP Frankie Francisco got two outs, but gave up four runs on three hits, with two walks. CF Chris Hopkins was 3-for-4.
A-Lansing lost 13-12 to West Michigan. Canadian RF Michael Crouse was 2-for-5 with his first homer of the year and four RBIs. C Carlos Perez was 3-for-5.