Griffin: Jays note pack from Cincinnati – Friday, June 17, 2011
VOTTO SPEAKS OUT ON IMAGE OF CANADIANS AFTER STANLEY CUP RIOTS
Etobicoke native and NL MVP, the Reds' first baseman Joey Votto met with a horde of Canadian media just before batting practice on Friday. He was asked his views on the violent reaction of fans in Vancouver after the Canucks had lost to the Bruins.
“Man oh man, if that picture of those two people making out on the street is real, that's pretty cool,” the 27-year-old Votto said of the young couple Scott Jones and Alexandra Thomas photographed against a backdrop of lawlessness and destruction, an image that went viral. The Star's A Section spoke to the couple on Friday and Jones explained that Thomas was originally felled by a policeman's riot shield, that he was comforting her.
“I really didn't read enough about it,” Votto said. “I tell you what, I think Canadians in general would be frustrated about the Cup is not with us.”
As for any blow to the international reputation of Canadians as being polite and respectful, Votto was not worried that image would change because of the senseless mayhem.
“I don't think so,” the slugging first baseman said. “You don't want to judge an entire country based on one incident or one group of people. I think we still have a pretty good reputation.”
FARRELL SAID TO REDUCE WORKLOAD FOR J.P. ARENCIBIA
The Jays' rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia has been catching the entire five-man rotation, despite being handicapped by a sore thumb. His batting average has dropped to .232 heading into the Reds series, whils his OPS stands at .750, with 10 homers and 34 RBIs.
Manager John Farrell plans to reduce his workload for the short term. Backup catcher Jose Molina will continue to catch Zach Stewart and will add righthander Brandon Morrow on Saturday and for the next several starts. That is the short term plan.
“I think the thumb has had a little bit of issue there with the aggressiveness with which he's swung the bat,” Farrell said. “Like every guy in our lineup, they're going to go through those ups and downs to a certain point, but I do think that the thumb has had some effect. To what extent I can't quantify that, but any time you're dealing with that thumb where your hand is going to roll over it one every swing, he's had to manage the inflammation and a little bit of discomfort that he's dealt with.
Arencibia has also struggled defensively to catch balls cleanly and to block balls in the dirt.
“I don't want to say that it has. There's been some times where some balls have cut late on him where we've seen some balls go off the end of the glove. We've seen some pitches where I thought Wednesday he did a better job. He controlled some balls in the dirt much better but I think the thumb does affect. When you're a catcher that thumb's going to come into play in every aspect of the game.”
JAYS BOAST FIVE MAN BENCH FOR FIRST TIME IN 2011
The Jays entered Game 1 of the Reds series with five position players on the bench after the move to brong John McDonald off the disabled list and replace him with pitcher Casey Janssen. Joining McDonald are Rajai Davis, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike McCoy and Jose Molina.
“It gives us some flexibility to pinch-run and do some things late with Rajai and McCoy,” Farrell said. “All of a sudden we've got five guys on the bench and won't know what to do with them all...let me take that back. This will be the first time we've had these number of guys available to do some things late. Johnny Mac gives us the ability if we have to do a double switch, to pinch hit, he gives us the ability to do that as well. His return hasn't put us to the point of saying we're going to start him every other day or anything like that. That's not the plan going forward.”
JAYS INJURY UPDATE
Third baseman Brett Lawrie is recovering from a non-displaced fracture of a bone in the back of his left hand. Manager John Farrell said he is throwing, taking ground balls and conditioning himslef with no discomfort. He has not yet taken any swings.
Righthander Jesse Litsch will make his first rehab start on Saturday for A-Lansing against Dayton. He has been recuperating from a sore right shoulder and is expected, if all goes well, to make a total of four starts on his rehab-assignment.
Righthander Casey Janssen flew to Florida on Friday to be examined by Dr. Steve Mirabello, but an equipment problem on his flight caused the plane to turn around and return to Toronto, postponing the scheduled MRI on his injured forearm. Farrell suggested that the hope was Janssen would be ready to return to the active roster at the end of his 15 days.