7:12 PM Eastern

The Blue Jays reeled off their tenth straight win, their 11th in a row without a loss, but what price victory?

Not much of a price, apparently.  Brett Lawrie left the game after the third inning with tightness in his left groin, but he didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal and the Blue Jays are saying that he’s day to day and will be re-evaluated Saturday morning.  He wasn’t scheduled to play Saturday anyway, and I’m thinking he’ll get at least Sunday off as well.

Lawrie beat out an infield single in the second inning, busting it up the first-base line as Ben Zobrist went up the middle to snare his chopper to second. Zobrist turned and threw in one motion, but wasn’t quick enough to get Lawrie, who then stole second off old friend Jose Molina.  J.P. Arencibia cashed Lawrie with a line single to right to open the scoring, and it was on his way home from third that Lawrie felt something not right in his leg.  He didn’t say “pull” or “grab” or anything like that, just that something didn’t feel right and he knew as he was gearing down after scoring that he should probably come out of the game.  He played the top of the 3rd inning, but nothing was hit to him, didn’t come to bat in the bottom and Jonathan Diaz came out to play third in the fourth.

Lawrie says he’s had leg issues before, and that he knows that this can grow into something that will bite you later on in the season, so he doesn’t want to take any chances.  He called it a light strain, no big deal at all, and he didn’t seem to be favouring anything while getting dressed after the game, which was a good sign.

Here’s what Lawrie had to say to the gathered media assemblage:

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So it really doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the Blue Jays may be without their sparkplug for a few games.  Unfortunately, the first televised game of the spring is this Sunday, March 18th.  I can’t imagine Lawrie will be playing, which will disappoint some viewers.

Ricky Romero started for the Blue Jays and fought his command for the entirety of his four-inning stint.  He threw 26 balls and 26 strikes, walking two and striking out four through four no-hit innings.  Despite the control issues, Romero faced only one batter over the minimum and retired eight in a row at one point.  Also, despite the control issues, Romero didn’t allow a single ball to be hit out of the infield.  So even without his best stuff, the results were spectacular.

Here’s what Ricky had to say after his outing:

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Travis Snider continued his red-hot spring, with a single off the glove of centrefielder Elliot Johnson as Johnson sprinted back towards the wall (a single because the runners had to hold up to see if the ball would drop) and a home run to right-centre off Jhonny Nunez in the 6th; his team-leading fourth homer of the Grapefruit season.  Yunel Escobar and Arencibia pitched in with two hits each as well – each of J.P.’s drove in a run.

The Blue Jays will split their squad for St. Patrick’s Day, with half the team going to Disneyworld for a date with the Braves and the other half making the 10-minute run to visit the Phillies next door in Clearwater.  Brandon Morrow will start against the Phils, and that’s the game we’ll have for you along the Blue Jays Radio Network (pre-game beginning at 12:30pm Eastern).  He’s slated for four innings and will  be picked up by Luis Perez and Rick van den Hurk for two each.  Jerry Gil is scheduled to throw one.  Over in Orlando, Drew Hutchison will start and Deck McGuire will piggyback – they’re set for three innings each, to be followed by Jesse Chavez, Robert Coello and Jim Hoey.

Here are the rest of Saturday’s travel squads:

To Clearwater – J.P. Arencibia, Yan Gomes, Jeff Mathis, Edwin Encarnacion, Kelly Johnson, Mike McCoy, Omar Vizquel, Ben Francisco, Colby Rasmus, Eric Thames, Brian Bocock, Brian Jeroloman, Jake Marisnick, Kellen Sweeney, Bobby Korecky, Aaron Loup.

To Orlando – Travis d’Arnaud, A.J. Jimenez, David Cooper, Jonathan Diaz, Mike McDade, Luis Valbuena, Chris Woodward, Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, Travis Snider, Andy Burns, Michael Crouse, Ruben Gotay, Ricardo Nanita, Chad Beck, Scott Gracey.

Here’s the post-game scrum with John Farrell – he had good things to say about Chad Jenkins, who was sent back to minor-league camp after the game:

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Remember to tune into the game tomorrow and Sunday, and please follow me on The Twitter – you can find me @wilnerness590.

Comments are welcome – I read them all and respond to most!

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7 Responses to “OK, Everybody Panic!”
  1. 1.

    I really don’t see in what facet of the game this organization might think Thames is better than Snider. And what was so special about Thames numbers last year to be considered the favourite for left field?

    MW: It’s not that his numbers were special, it’s that he had the job and did enough to keep it. He’s the incumbent at the position. And so far, Thames has been a better major-league hitter than Snider has.

    - Will
  2. 2.

    Based on quotes from AA and Farrell over the last few days and their continued insistence about how the fact that Thames finished last season with the job in left is an important factor in the battle for left field, along with the tone of some of the reports from Toronto baseball scribes recently, I am starting to wonder whether the battle for left field is a farce and Thames is going to win the job no matter what. What are your thoughts based on your interactions with AA and Farrell? I realize it could all be posturing of course, and that they could be trying to keep Snider motivated by stressing the fact that Thames has the early advantage, but at times it is starting to sound like Snider doesn’t have a chance. It seems to me that it is extremely difficult to make a well-reasoned argument to start Thames in left over Snider. By all accounts Snider has a much higher ceiling as a hitter, is a much better defender and baserunner, and in addition has only one option year left. Sure, Thames ended the year with the full-time job in left but he is not a veteran player, nor did he do all that much to “earn” the job. He certainly wasn’t doing much with the bat when the season ended. The fact is for much of the year Thames didn’t do much more than Snider with the bat. When you add all of the positives for Snider to the fact that he is clearly winning the spring training battle right now in pretty well every category (for whatever that’s worth), I can’t imagine how they could give Thames the job over Snider. At some point they have to ‘crap or get off the pot’ with Snider and it seems to me that time is fast approaching. They have never really given him a chance at the major league level. If they never give him the job and let him fail, how are they ever going to figure out whether he can actually put it together in the majors? It’s getting to the point where I am kind of hoping for Thames to play poorly when he’s in the lineup because I want to see Snider given a real opportunity.

    - Ryan
  3. 3.

    Now that it’s almost a forgone conclusion that snider won’t be with this team out of spring training do you think he has any trade value or should they just let him go back to vegas?

    MW: How is it a forgone conclusion that Snider isn’t going to make the team?

    - snider
  4. 4.

    Mike,
    A question about the battle between Thames and Snider for the LF job. . . what gives? Why not keep both guys on the roster cut Francisco. I realize he hits lefties better than Thames, but so what? He’s easily replaceable, and the Jays have only a minimal investment in him. Give Snider and Thames both some ABs for a couple of months of the season to see what you really have. Then anoint one of them as the starting LF.

    MW: The problem is, you can’t give Snider and Thames both some at-bats for a couple of months and be fair to either one of them. Francisco is here to be a bench player, though his relevance is questionable if Edwin Encarnacion can play a passable left field, neither Snider nor Thames should be on the bench.

    - Ken in KIngston
  5. 5.

    Hi Mike,

    Absolutely can’t wait to get things started. Personally, I think it is all about the 5 starters. If they produce, and play close to or at their potential, I think the Jays could win 90 games.

    Anyways, I was wondering what you thought about Farrell’s idea to bat Johnson second in the lineup. I am of the belief that you have your best/better hitters at the top (as over the course of the season they will get more ABs). To me, Johnson is one of, if not the weakest hitter in the starting lineup.

    I would rather see something like this:

    Escobar
    Rasmus
    Baustista
    Lind
    Encarnacion
    Snider/Thames (would love to see Snider get one more shot)
    Arencibia
    Johnson
    Lawrie

    Only reason I have Lawrie at the bottom is that I like the righty/lefty balance which I think creates problems for the oppositions bullpen.

    Thanks Mike, can’t wait for April 5!

    MW: The top three Blue Jays, in career on-base percentage, are Escobar, Bautista and Johnson. I can’t imagine why you would have a thesis that your best hitters should be at the top of the line-up and have Brett Lawrie hitting ninth.

    - Rob H
  6. 6.

    Hi Mike,

    In terms of quality of AT-BATS, who do you think has looked better Snider or Thames? and doesn’t Snider seem to strike out a lot?

    thanks

    MW: I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve even seen half of each of their at-bats this spring. Snider is striking out a lot, but he’s always going to do that. When he puts the ball in play, very good things have been happening. Both Snider and Thames are having terrific springs.

    - NICK
  7. 7.

    I tried to go to this game (was in Florida and had a last minute opportunity) but it was sold out! Great for the Jays but bad for me. We did manage to get my 8 and six year old daughters in with a friend ( went for a walk to the Marina and had a long lunch). My kids loved the game and afterwords got autographs from various kind Jays including Brandon Morrow and Luis Valbuena (they were thrilled!) Next time I will engage in better planning.

    - Ben
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