Richard Griffin's Bullpen: GM Alex Anthopoulos busier at trade deadline than J.P. Ricciardi was
The major-league trade deadline without waivers remains several days away, but already Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos, heading towards July 31, has made an impact on the major-league landscape orchestrating a 10-player deal with the Houston Astros on Friday, before the Jays faced the Red Sox.
As part of the package, the Jays obtained two major-leaguers, J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon, plus minor-league reliever David Carpenter, surrendering a seven-player package that included major-leaguers Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco plus five prospects: catcher Carlos Perez, right-handers Asher Wojciechowski and Joe Musgrove, left-hander David Rollins and a player to be named, likely from the 2011 draft as soon as he reaches his one-year minimum as a pro.
The fact is the Jays may not be done dealing before July winds down. Manager John Farrell, before the Jays left on the last road trip to New York and Boston, suggested that his wish list included two starting pitchers, plus help in the pen. With Happ they have obtained one starter, so it ain’t over.
PREVIOUS BULLPEN EDITIONS:
In terms of action and willingness to take chances, let’s compare this GM and the previous regime under J.P. Ricciardi in terms of pulling the trigger on July trades throughout their respective stewardships. In eight seasons at the helm of the Jays (2002-09) Ricciardi completed six trades in July, involving 16 players. However, one of those deals, July 22, 2005, sent SS John McDonald to the Tigers for a player to be named. That player turned out to be John McDonald, so let’s not count that one. Revise that to five July trades, 14 players for Ricciardi to be more precise.
Fast forward to Anthopoulos. In his three seasons, the 35-year-old vice-president has already made six July trades, involving 30 players. In the month before his three trade deadlines, Anthopoulos brought in five current Jays, Yunel Escobar, Anthony Gose, Colby Rasmus, Happ and Lyon.
Back to a review of action on the field, the past week brought on the beginning of a stretch of key games for the Jays that could logically be seen as make-or-break. They went to New York and were ignominiously swept away by the Yankees, looking like they did not belong in the same league as the haughty Bronx Bombers. Henderson Alvarez lost Monday, followed by mediocre starting efforts from Brett Cecil and Ricky Romero. The loss was Romero’s fifth in a row after starting out 8-1.
On Monday, Jays’ fans and the front office had their hearts leap to their collective throats as RF Jose Bautista launched a 400-foot foul ball to left off RH David Robertson and crumpled into a pained crouch clutching his left wrist. He left the game immediately. Following a Tuesday MRI, Joey Bats was placed on the DL with inflammation and 21-year-old rookie Gose was recalled.
On Wednesday, third baseman Brett Lawrie, playing the game in all-out fashion as he always does, went leaning and reaching into a Yankee Stadium camera bay, missed the ball and flipped over the railing, hitting the back of his calf with tremendous force on a second, exposed metal railing.
With Lawrie now iffy, the Jays recalled utility man Yan Gomes and optioned right-hander Sam Dyson. Lawrie sat out Friday’s game then played the final two games of the Red Sox series. Farrell had always said he wanted to cut his bullpen back to seven players as soon as the rotation settled in. As part of the Friday morning trade with the Astros, Travis Snider finally got his 2012 chance.
And, by the way, as it turned out, Jason Frasor’s dismal Tuesday outing vs. the Yankees became his last before going on the 15-day DL with right forearm soreness. That injury allowed Drew Carpenter to avoid being designated for assignment, as had been announced, remaining with the Jays.
With Bautista and Frasor joining the current group on the disabled list, the Jays were looking at 10 injured players, nine of them pitchers. The missing 10 earn a total of $26.3 million in 2012.
After losing three straight in New York, the perspective on the off day looked like the Jays’ death spiral had begun, especially with the Red Sox getting back CF Jacoby Ellsbury and LF Carl Crawford. But they also lost DH David Ortiz, a very important part of their offence. His loss showed.
The Jays took all three games at Fenway Park behind Aaron Laffey (2-1), Carlos Villanueva (5-0) and Alvarez (6-7), outscoring Boston 28-11. The Jays are an enigma. When you expect them to win, they lose and when you think they are done, the Jays step up and win.
Unable to put anything together, they have bounced back and forth between two games below .500 and five games above all year. The Jays surely need a winning streak, but to get anything resembling one, they need their ace Romero to step up and win two in a row, with 7-9 inning stuff.
The Jays host Oakland and Detroit this week, the two hottest teams in the American League. It doesn’t get any easier in Blue Jay nation.
On Saturday at a quaint minor-league ballpark in Cooperstown, N.Y., the Baseball Hall of Fame recognized Toronto Sun baseball columnist Bob Elliott as winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, handed out annually for major contributions to baseball in the field of sports journalism. Elliott is the first Canadian to be so recognized and delivered a moving acceptance speech.
In truth, the biggest surprise was not that Bob received the Spink award, because he deserved it. No, the biggest surprise was he made it through his wide-ranging Saturday speech without breaking down, without faltering, without crying. Elliott cried when Pat Gillick gave his speech at the Hall the year before. He cried when Team Canada beat Team USA at the World Baseball Classic in 2006. He cries at weddings and funerals. He cries at the success of his friends — and of that he has many.
Since Elliott was announced as the 2012 Spink winner at the Winter Meetings in Dallas last December, there has been a newfound awareness and appreciation in the U.S. for Canadian baseball, Canadian journalism and Canadian amateur baseball. Always tremendously low-key and extremely humourous, in the driest of ways, this country could not have had a better representative to live forever at Cooperstown among the greats of horsehide journalism through the years.
How important is this award to the Canadian psyche? In addition to a solid six months of banquets and awards in recognition of his award, the “good Kingston boy” had lunch at the Royal York with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and received written congratulations from Don Cherry. Huge!
Elliott, despite his constant, mild protestations, has long been recognized north of the border as the top baseball reporter in Canada and journalism’s most influential supporter of Team Canada’s efforts, an organization within the federal sports program led by executive director Greg Hamilton that has produced countless scholarship athletes, minor-leaguers and an impressive, ever-growing list of major-league players and stars, most of whom recognize the contributions that Elliott has made.
Now, 12 months after going into the Canadian Hall at St. Marys, Ont., Elliott’s name has been entered into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.
On the day of the December award announcement, Elliott spent the remainder of that day answering hundreds of messages of congratulations. What makes the man, affectionately known as Boxer, unique is that the outpouring of affection and joy for his nomination came from not only BBWAA members, family and friends, but from baseball scouts, player agents, major and minor-league executives, active players, former players, parents of all the Canadian players whom he has helped with his advice through the years and generations of his loyal readers.
I first remember Bob from my days in media relations with the Expos. He arrived as a beat reporter from Ottawa in the late ’70s through the mid-’80s. Even then, he had the same unique, low-key, dry humoured persona that he still shows, often imitated, but never duplicated.
As a young reporter, Bob clearly loved the game he covered and in the early days of writing about the Expos for the Journal and then the Citizen, he drove the two hours to Montreal for homestands, staying in downtown hotels for the duration. Bob became a clubhouse favourite, among players, coaches, staff and fellow media, for his appreciation and knowledge of the game’s history and for being a good late night companion with whom to share the occasional libation and talk baseball, past and present deep into the night. And, of course, to laugh about life.
What made Elliott special in the early days when I first met him in Montreal is the same thing that has kept him special. It was his memory for personal details of the people that he covered and those in the game that he did not need to write about, but merely would count as friends.
If Bob knew you from the ’80s as a player, he still knows you today, whether you moved on to coaching, scouting, front office or are just out of the game, hanging out with your family.
If Bob had known you as a coach back in the ’80s, he kept track of your progress even into your inevitable firing or retirement and then into your twilight years.
If Bob knew you as a scout from those weeks at a time where he was a Montreal resident, living out of his suitcase, you became his friend. As such, Elliott has become a part of the extended MLB scouting family because he related the same way to loving baseball for little pay and to life on the road.
To Elliott, batting average, home runs, RBIs, wins, ERA and strikeouts are not the most important statistics in baseball. Neither, of course, are any of the new-wave stats that have created a re-evaluation of many of the greats of the past. No, the most important stats for Elliott, beyond his wife Claire and children Bobby and Alicia, is the good health and well-being of his friends and their families throughout the game — fellow writers, scouts, players, coaches, agents and team executives.
Competing with Elliott is a season of laughs when you’re together on the road accompanied by professional concern that you’re missing something when you see him inevitably wander away, ear glued to his cellphone. Often it’s just the family of a Canadian youngster seeking the best advice.
One summer, Elliott missed a road trip to St. Louis. His good friend, Le Journal de Montreal’s Serge Touchette convinced Cards’ reporters that Bob also had a thriving wrestling career on the Canadian circuit that had kept him busy. His wrestling nickname, according to Touchette, was The Yellow Hammer and his trademark move was a backflip off the top rope. In fact, Touchette intoned with sincerity, Bob, as a sportswriter, even covered his own fights.
The next time to St. Louis, Bob laughed as hard as the rest of us when the question came up at a Busch Stadium dinner table with Hall of Fame announcer Jack Buck asking the question. Who knew?
This is a story I have told often, but I recall a night in the mid-’80s, front row of the Expos press box at Olympic Stadium after a ballgame, I felt a presence to my right and looked up. It was Bob, but instead of his normal inquisitive, smiling self, he looked worried. Something was bothering him.
“Richard, I’ve been offered a job in Toronto with the Sun,” he began, carefully. “It’s a great opportunity. It’s something I’ve always wanted, but I’m not sure I can do it. What do you think?”
I said, “Bob, you have to take it. You’re good. It’s a chance for a bigger audience and that’s what you wanted. If you don’t go, you’ll never know how good you can be.”
Now, after winning the Spink Award we all know how good Bob Elliott can be. Congratulations to the most important baseball writer in the history of Canadian sports journalism.
MLB POWER RANKINGS – July 23 (Last Week’s ranking in parentheses)
1. New York Yankees (1)
Can be shut down by good pitching, not a good trait for short series
2. Texas Rangers (2)
Said interested in Cliff Lee. What goes around in baseball
3. Cincinnati Reds (7)
Even without Joey Votto are surging. Chapman on a roll
4. Washington Nationals (3)
Waiting for young players to start feeling the heat
5. Detroit Tigers (16)
Know how good they really are and starting to show it
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (8)
Being carried by unfamiliar adrenaline and euphoria
7. Los Angeles Angels (5)
Once got to wild-card position sort of settled into complacency
8. Oakland A’s (15)
A’s are late arriving Nats phenom of AL. Cespedes MVP?
9. San Francisco Giants (9)
Melky, Posey and Cain have them in control.
10. Atlanta Braves (11)
Chipper upset by Melky’s tomahawk chop. Has he asked native Americans?
11. Baltimore Orioles (13)
Somehow these guys keep hanging around even no Hammel
12. Tampa Bay Rays (14)
Does talk of dealing Shields mean they don’t believe?
13. Chicago White Sox (4)
Season long for players . . . and rookie managers like Ventura.
14. Boston Red Sox (6)
Ellsbury and Crawford return and no expected boost
15. Los Angeles Dodgers (10)
If Barry Larkin was available, Colletti be interested
16. St. Louis Cardinals (17)
Playing like they were last year . . . before late charge
17. Cleveland Indians (18)
Looking like a team above .500 below wildcard
18. Toronto Blue Jays (20)
Joey Bats + 9 hurlers on DL total of $26.3 million
19. New York Mets (12)
Bobby Parnell 2-for-7 save opportunities for fading Mets
20. Milwaukee Brewers (22)
After 2-year run Axford replaced as closer . . . for now
21. Philadelphia Phillies (23)
Will they be sellers now and reload in off-season
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (19)
Disappointing season after playoff run last year
23. Miami Marlins (21)
Ozzie claims the White Sox aren’t better off without him. Hmm
24. Seattle Mariners (25)
M’s inoffensive on and off the field. Becoming most ignored
25. Minnesota Twins (27)
These guys are usually second-half juggernauts. We’re waiting
26. Chicago Cubs (28)
Playing better now, but what it they unload Dempster and Garza?
27. Kansas City Royals (24)
Euphoria of hosting all-star game over, can get back to losing
28. San Diego Padres (26)
These guys are most-ignored NL team
29. Colorado Rockies (29)
Jamie Moyer still tied for fourth in Rox starts tells you everything
30. Houston Astros (30)
Message for manager: Millsie, we have a problem.
How rare is a four-game sweep of the Yankees? Consider that prior to Sunday’s comeback win by the home team in Oakland, 5-4 in 12 innings, the A’s had not swept a four-game set from the Bombers in 40 years, since 1972. The Yanks had not been swept by anyone in a four-game series since the Jays did it at Yankee Stadium, in May of ’03. The winning pitchers for Toronto were RH Roy Halladay, RH Kelvim Escobar, RH Cory Lidle and LH Doug Davis. 1B Carlos Delgado in the series was 7-for-15 with 7 RBIs. After CF Coco Crisp’s 12th inning walkoff single, the A’s now lead the majors with 11 walkoff victories this year . . . The first-place Rangers are reeling on both sides of the ball. While OF Josh Hamilton flails away at pitches out of the zone, posting a .201 average since June 1, the starting rotation is taking a hit with RH Roy Oswalt missing a start with tightness in the lower back and RH Colby Lewis perhaps returning to the DL after one start back. As for Hamilton, how many millions of dollars is the free-agent-to-be costing himself with each struggling day . . . Rangers’ 1B Mitch Moreland is ready to go on a rehab option, but that will be interrupted by the birth of his first child, after which he will return to his rehab stint in the minors. He’s still over a week away . . . Indians starter RH Roberto Hernandez is about to start serving a three-week suspension for identity fraud just as Marlins’ reliever RH Juan Carlos Oviedo is returning from his eight-week suspension for the same faux pas. How come one sanction is three weeks and one is eight weeks for the same crime? Maybe Hernandez got the shorter suspension because Fausto Carmona is a way-cooler phony name than Leo Nunez . . . On Sunday vs. the Rangers, Angels’ 1B Albert Pujols clubbed career HR No. 463, tying him with Chipper Jones for 32nd all-time. Meanwhile, his teammate LF Mike Trout scored a run in his 14th straight game, an AL rookie record . . . Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera slammed two homers vs. White Sox RH Phil Humber on Sunday, giving him 300 for his MLB career. Cabrera is the 14th player to record 300 before the age of 30 and ranks second among Venezuelan players to Andres Galarraga (399). “He’s a superstar,” manager Jim Leyland said of Miggy. “He’s like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky.” That’s a little much, reminiscent of the other master of Tiger hyperbole Sparky Anderson. But the fact is the Tigers all of a sudden find themselves in first place, in the same position they were at the same time last year when they roared to a wide AL Central win. The good news for the Tigers is that last year it was all resting on one man, RH Justin Verlander, who has not yet duplicated his spectacular 2011. CL Jose Valverde is another who was perfect last year and not so much this year as he missed both weekend games nursing a sore back . . . The Rays continue to have trouble at DH. Luke Scott has returned to the DL with a strained oblique, while Hideki Matsui is hitting .148 and has been booed at the Trop for his failure to cash runners in key situations . . . The Royals rotation looked horrible on the recent 3-7 homestand posting a combined 7.38 ERA. RH Jeremy Guthrie, obtained from the Rockies for disappointing LH Jonathan Sanchez, is not the answer . . . Twins DH Ryan Doumit homered from both sides of the plate on Sunday. Other Twins to accomplish the feat are Chili Davis in 1992 and Roy Smalley in 1986 . . . The Indians move to put CF Shin-Soo Choo in leadoff has paid off. Choo through the weekend is hitting .321 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs, raising his average to .297 from .235 . . . Speaking of leadoff, the offensively challenged M’s have used seven different leadoff hitters this year: Casper Wells, Chone Figgins, Michael Saunders, Ichiro Suzuki, Dustin Ackley, John Jaso and Brendan Ryan . . . White Sox GM Ken Williams believes that getting Philip Humber and Gavin Floyd back is like going out and trading for help at the deadline. We’re not so sure.
It didn’t take long for the last-place-in-all-of-baseball Astros to ensure that they hang onto that honour. Hours after trading veteran RH Brett Myers to the White Sox, MGR Brad Mills named former Jays’ RH Francisco Cordero as his closer. “I wasn’t pitching good there, so I hope everything turns around here for a new team in Houston and back in the National League where I’ve been pitching for the last six to seven years,” Cordero said. “I hope it goes a lot better than it was going over there for the Blue Jays.” Of course, the way the Astros play, being their closer might make him the Maytag Repairman of the NL (Google it, kids) . . . What’s up with Braves’ 3B Chipper Jones? He got all bent out of shape at Giants CF Melky Cabrera for doing a mock Tomahawk Chop after beating the Braves in Atlanta. The Chop itself is based on disrespect for Native Americans, so just shut up. By the way, don’t I remember Jays’ 2B Robby Alomar doing the same thing during the ’92 World Series at old Fulton-County Stadium. It’s that pompous view of baseball right and wrong that helped the Jays acquire SS Yunel Escobar two years ago, a misfit in the old-boys Braves clubhouse. Oh, by the way, I was on hand when some Elders placed a curse on the Braves and Indians that neither team would ever win the World Series as long as they continued to disrespect the Native Americans. The Indians, of course, have the ridiculous Chief Wahoo caricature. Some will point out that the Braves actually won a WS since then, but please notice that they were playing the Indians and somebody had to win . . . The Pirates boast OF Andrew McCutchen and 3B Pedro Alvarez with 20+ homers. The only other time the Bucs had two players with 20 or more before the team’s 100th game was Willie Stargell and Bill Robinson in 1979, the year they beat the O’s in the World Series. The Pirates need a corner outfielder if they want to complete the picture of a contender. Who has a surplus of corner outfielders? The Jays. But Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington is cautious when talking about the approaching trade deadline. “We don’t need to go out and get a bat, we don’t need to go out and get an arm,” Huntington said. “We’re going to continue to look at what makes sense for us from a cost standpoint.” That means they do nothing significant . . . The Marlins continue to be the most disappointing supposed contender in baseball and manager Ozzie Guillen continues to hurl his players under the bus at an alarming rate. “I feel bad for the people who put this team together, I feel embarrassed,” Ozzie said, as he started his campaign for manager-of-the-year. “They put a good group of guys together with a lot of talent and they believe in those guys. All of a sudden things aren’t going our way. If they’re not embarrassed or they don’t feel bad about it, I do. I got pride.” The latest is when 3B Hanley Ramirez forgot to take his meds and his scraped, infected hand swelled up overnight, forcing him to the sideline. He cut his knuckles punching a fan (the air-blowing kind) in the Fish dugout a couple of weeks back and it became infected . . . One more from Chipper and the Braves. On Friday, Chipper Jones drove in two runs, passing Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and George Brett into first place on the all-time list of third basemen . . . This weekend the Padres signed OF Carlos Quentin to a three-year $27 million contract that seems to be patterned after the one the Jays just gave to 1B Edwin Encarnacion. It would seem Quentin is no longer on the market . . . In Milwaukee, Canadian CL John Axford lost his job to RH Francisco Rodriguez, who joined Francisco Cordero in Houston and returning RH Frank Francisco in New York, meaning fully 21.4 per cent of NL games are being closed by Franciscos. Not always well.
On Wednesday, former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa came to Yankee Stadium bearing the gift of a World Series ring for Blue Jays’ centre fielder Colby Rasmus. It seems anyone who plays at least one game for the eventual World Series winner is entitled to a ring and since Rasmus had been there from Opening Day until being traded to the Jays on July 27, he was more than qualified.
The problem last week was that, for some reason, LaRussa and Rasmus never got together in New York and never even shook hands. LaRussa, it seems, left the ring with clubhouse staff after he heard Rasmus was too busy with family to see the future Hall of Fame skipper. That’s crap on both sides.
Yes, the two men had had an open feud in the final few weeks the Alabama native was in St. Louis and, no, the rift has never healed. But come on guys. It’s over. Enough is enough. Rasmus and his dad Tony, a high school coach in Phoenix City, never agreed with the Cards’ attempts to make an all-fields hitter out of Colby. It’s not the style of hitting that scouts had raved about when Rasmus was drafted by the Cards. LaRussa said it was the paternal interference by Rasmus the elder that hindered Colby’s attempt to become a consistent major-league hitter. In the last two months in Toronto, Rasmus has made adjustments, moving up in the box and closer to the plate, returning to his high-school, minor-league roots and has suddenly become a top-of-the-order force in the Jays’ batting lineup.
But really, Tony, Colby get over it. Shake hands and move on. The unseemly, ongoing unpleasantness is not doing anyone any good. Disagreements happen. Neither is right. LaRussa should have insisted on seeing Rasmus, while Colby should have made himself available. Let’s all grow up and move on.
THIS WEEK IN BASEBALL HISTORY :
7/28/91 “El Presidente, El Perecto” is the timeless call of Hall of Fame announcer Dave Van Horne as Chris Gwynn flies out to Marquis Grissom to end a perfect game. Gwynn also had been the final out of the previous MLB perfect game by Tom Browning of the Reds. Ron Hassey became the first catcher to be behind the plate for two perfect games. He also caught Len Barker of the Indians . . . 7/23/64 Bert Campaneris, 21, hits two homers in his MLB debut for Kansas City A’s vs. the Twins, the first player to do so. 46 years later, J.P. Arencibia of the Jays became the third to homer twice in his debut, vs. the Rays . . . 7/24/73 Catfish Hunter fractures his thumb in a 7-1 NL win at the All-Star Game in Kansas City. Hunter is out for four weeks, but the A’s go on to win their second straight World Series . . . 7/24/79 Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox hits career HR No. 400 against Mike Morgan of the A’s at Fenway Park . . . 7/24/83 George Brett's infamous pine-tar incident. unfolds at Yankee Stadium. Yankee manager Billy Martin appeals the Brett bat after a two-run homer vs. Rich Gossage in the top of the eighth for having tar too far up the handle. Umps agree and call him out, but Brett races onto the field like a crazed man. AL president Lee MacPhail overrules later in the week and the game is picked up from the spot of the home run. The correct ruling is the bat should be removed from the game . . . 7/25/30 Known more for their power, the A’s pull off two triple-steals in the same game against the Indians. For the game, the A’s steal seven of their total of 50 bases for the season. Al Simmons and Bing Miller steal two bases each. It seems MGR Connie Mack was taking advantage of rookie catcher Mule Sprinz in just his fifth MLB start . . . 7/25/41 Lefty Grove, 41, wins No. 300 with a 10-6 Red Sox victory over the Indians . . . 7/25/49 Fidel Castro’s supporters fire shots from the stands during a Havana Sugar Kings game against the Rochester Red Wings, wounding shortstop Leo Cardenas and a Rochester third-base coach. The rest of the homestand is cancelled and after the season the IL Sugar Kings move to Newark and become the Bears . . . 7/25/67 Race riots in Detroit during the long, hot summer that inspired Gordon Lightfoot’s classic “Black Day in July” force postponement of a Tigers-Orioles series with the games being moved to Baltimore . . . 7/26/91 Mark Gardner of the Expos on a Friday night at Dodger Stadium throws nine no-hit innings, but loses 1-0 in inning 10, giving up two hits and a run. Two nights later came Martinez’ El Perfecto . . . 7/27/27 The 18-year-old rookie Mel Ott slams his first career homer. The inside-the-park blast is his only such homer among 511 career . . . 7/27/82 for the only time in his MLB career, A’s LF Rickey Henderson is caught stealing three times in a game. In the first he was picked off first by lefty Geoff Zahn. In the second and seventh he was thrown out by C Bob Boone. Current Jays’ hitting coach Dwayne Murphy was at the plate all three times . . . 7/27/88 Tommy John makes three errors on the same play for the Yankees vs. the Brewers. Jeffrey Leonard grounded to John on a wet field. He bobbled to allow the batter to reach, then threw the ball past first base to allow Jim Gantner to score —error No. 2 — and then fielded a throw backing up the plate and tossed it past third base for the hat trick of miscues, allowing Leonard to score. T.J. elbow surgery apparently does not guarantee improved fielding.
Birthdays this week: Nomar Garciaparra 39, *Don Drysdale 76, Pee Wee Reese 94, Barry Bonds 48, Ed Sprague 45, Torey Lovullo 47, Doug Drabek 50, Steve Frey 49, Dan Driessen 61, *Leo Durocher 107, Vida Blue 63, Shea Hillenbrand 37, Larry Biittner, 67, Carroll Sembera 71, Alex Rodriguez 37, *Whitey Lockman 86, Kevin Barker 37.
JAYS MINOR LEAGUE ROUNDUP
AAA-Las Vegas (58-43) lost 6-5 to Reno on Sunday, ending a 6-game win streak. LH Nate Robertson allowed 3 runs in 1 inning and his ERA is 9.39. RH David Carpenter fanned 3 in 1.2 shutout innings, with a 1.74 ERA. LH Evan Crawford (1-1) was the loser in relief. 3B Mark Sobolewski, a recent callup, was 2-for-5 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs. SS Adeiny Hechavarria was 0-for-5 with his average dropping to .305 . . . AA-New Hampshire (39-63) beat Portland 6-5 on Sunday. LF John Tolisano was 4-for-6 with 2 RBIs and is hitting .261. RH Sam Dyson (1-1) was the winner in relief with two shutout frames lowering his ERA to 0.64. DH Kenen Bailli was 3-for-5 and is hitting .336. 1B Mike McDade is hitting .279 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs . . . A-Dunedin (14-16) beat St. Lucie 4-1 on Sunday. RH Jesse Hernandez (1-1) was the winner (8.2 IP; 1H; 1R; 0ER; 1BB; 12SO). LF Kevin Pillar was 1-for-4 and is batting .400. CF Justin Jackson was 2-for-03 with a double and is batting .220. Canadian DH Marcus Knecht was 0-for-4 and is hitting .199 . . . A-Lansing (18-11) beat Wisconsin 7-5 on Sunday. LH Justin Nicolino (6-2) was the starter and winner (6IP; 4H; 2R; 2ER; 0BB; 8SO) with a 2.70 ERA. RH Noah Syndergaard is 7-2, 2.72 ERA. RH Aaron Sanchez is 8-2 with a 1.75 ERA. RH Ajay Meyer has 27 saves and is one of eight Lugnuts pitchers with more than a strikeout per inning pitched . . . A-Vancouver (21-15) beat Spokane 5-2 on Sunday. RH Marcus Stroman (1-0) recorded his first pro win throwing two clean innings, with 3 Ks. 1B Balbino Fuenmayor was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and is batting .299. SS Jason Leblebijian is hitting .328 with 2 homers and 11 RBIs. Canadian CF Dalton Pompey is hitting .294 with 3 steals. RHP Javier Avendano is 3-1, with a 2.00 ERA. RH Ian Kadish is 1-1, with 4 saves, a 0.83 WHIP and a 1.40 ERA. The Canadians have 17 players at 22-years of age or younger . . . A-Bluefield (14-17) beat Danville 8-6 on Sunday. RH Roberto Osuna had no decision (4IP; 3H; 2R; 2ER; 2BB; 3SO). RH Justin James (1-1) was the winner in relief. LF Alex Azor was 3-for-5 with 2 runs and is batting .263. SS Dickie Joe Thon is hitting .193. 1B Art Charles has 6 HR, 16 RBIs and 32 BBs in just 85 at-bats . . . Rk-Blue Jays (9-21) lost 5-3 to the Phillies on Sunday. RH Chase DeJong tossed 2 clean innings with 2 Ks. CF D.J. Davis was 2-for-4 with a double and is batting .245 with 3 homers, 8 RBIs and 7 steals. DH Emilio Guerrero, 6-4, 170 lbs., was 2-for-4 with a homer. 3B Shaun Valeriote is leading the Jays batting .257.
ONE FOR THE ROAD:
With Star reporter Brendan Kennedy on the road trip to New York and Boston, I took the opportunity, with my family, to join my 89-year-old father at a reunion at Chateau Montebello, on the Ottawa River about 80 km from the nation’s capital and 130 km from Montreal. I watched the Jays’ games and wrote columns from there, eating far too much bacon, eggs, salmon, ribs, trout and stir fry, playing one bad round of golf on the fabulous Chateau Montebello course, Par 70, 6,400 yards. One non-baseball highlight came at the Bistro, on the ground floor of the chateau. Friday was a live ’60s and ’70s night. After ordering a beer from our 70-year-old French-Canadian bartender, I lazily watched a bit of the CFL game on the small screen above the bar, not really paying attention. The music started, so I turned towards the stage in time to see our ancient, balding, gray-haired bartender, microphone in hand, hotel vest buttoned up, white sleeves and name tag still in place, strutting about the stage in a perfect Mick Jagger swagger, performing Start Me Up, 19th Nervous Breakdown and Satisfaction. Of course at 70, he would fit right in with the real Rolling Stones. But it’s good to be home, to see the Jays starting a six-game homestand against the A’s and Tigers on Tuesday, before heading west next week.