6:34PM Eastern

It was the first “Cardiac Kids” moment of the spring, and the Blue Jays’ kids were up to the challenge.

Trailing the Orioles 3-2 going into the 9th, with all the starters out of the game, the Jays’ minor-leaguers and future stars rallied for four runs off big-leaguer Pedro Strop and extended the Blue Jays’ spring win streak to three games.

Ricardo Nanita led it off with a single, then Yan Gomes hit a little swinging bunt-type nubber towards third that he beat out for his second hit of the game (he doubled in a run in the second). David Cooper drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases and Jonathan Diaz, with a career slugging percentage under .300 as a pro, picked out a pitch he could drive and belted it to the lip of the warning track in left for a game-tying sacrifice fly on which all three runners moved up.  Anthony Gose was next, having walked and stolen both second and third the inning before in a valiant attempt to single-handedly tie the game.  On his own, he dropped a bunt down the first base line on which Gomes didn’t break right away from third.  On the ball’s big hop, though, he did, and he would have been out by a ton at the plate had Strop’s six-foot flip to the catcher not sailed past him to the backstop.  A batter later, Brian Bocok ripped a single up the middle to score a pair, and that was that.

Ronald Uviedo, called up from the minor-league complex for the day, struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth around a couple of singles to nail down the save.  Uviedo was picked up by the Blue Jays for the long-since-lamented Dana Eveland a couple of years back.

Earlier in the game, J.P. Arencibia hit a moonshot for his fourth home run of the spring, and Travis Snider was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk, scoring ahead of the Gomes double.  Eric Thames was supposed to play, but his legs started cramping up after the game in Fort Myers last night, and the Jays decided to hold him out.  He may play Thursday against the Phillies, or may wait until Saturday’s home game against the Braves.  Likewise Brett Lawrie.

Kyle Drabek started and was OK.  He didn’t finish the requisite four innings, reaching his pitch count of 60 with one out in the fourth.  Drabek allowed three hits over his 3.1 innings, but two of them were infield singles.  He maintained his poise, never let an inning get away from him and in the overall, looked as good as you would want him to look as far as composure and strength.  The fastball touched 95 and the curveball was working well.  He’s still behind the eight-ball for a rotation spot, though.  Here’s what Drabek had to say after his outing:

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John Farrell had very good things to say about Drabek, Yan Gomes and the rest of the kids after the game:

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And we also spoke to Rick van den Hurk, who was claimed on waivers by the Cleveland Indians during the game.  The tall Dutchman was never going to make the team barring the unforeseen, but he didn’t do himself any favours by giving up seven earned runs on 10 hits over 6.1 spring innings, walking twice as many hitters as he struck out.  The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster, ostensibly so the Blue Jays can add Omar Vizquel to it later this spring.

Here’s what van den Hurk had to say:

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The Blue Jays are home to the Phillies on Thursday, and we’ll have that game for you on mlb.com starting at 1:05PM Eastern.  You have to have an mlb audio account to access the broadcast, but I do believe it’s free.   Brandon Morrow is scheduled to start and throw five innings and will be followed by Carlos Villanueva for two, Darren Oliver and Jason Frasor.  Join us, won’t you?

Please give me a follow on The Twitter (but not if you just want to pick a fight, thank you) – you can find me @wilnerness590.

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

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13 Responses to “The Kids Get It Done”
  1. 1.

    The big difference between Tampa and Toronto seems to be that Tampa has much stronger pithing out of the 4 and 5 spots.

    Now Romero, Morrow and Alvarez look pretty good for 1,2,3.
    But out of Brett Cecil, Dustin McGowan, Kyle Drabek, Deck McGuire, Chad Jenkins and Drew Hutchison, do you think they’ll be able to find 2 guys who can chew up innings and give the team a half decent chance to win, – either this year or next year?

    MW: Absolutely.

    - Andre
  2. 2.

    MLB audio account is $20 for entire year.

    MW: Which is crazy cheap. But in Spring Training, it’s free – all you have to do is sign up.

    - BuffaloSojourn
  3. 3.

    Mike, where is Santos? Why isn’t he getting into a few of these games?

    MW: He pitched in a minor-league game yesterday, struck out three of the five hitters he faced.

    - Jeffrey
  4. 4.

    I got your back on this ridiculous semantic uproar over Lind. The tweet called Lind “one of the very worst hitters in baseball the last 2yrs?”. If it even said “one of the worst 1B” it would have been a little more true and would have had some bit of relevance.

    Anyway the year before that he was one of the best, so I don’t know what the point was anyway. Sell low?

    MW: I appreciate that. It seems to me that people are just looking for reasons to get angry, it’s sad.

    - sons
  5. 5.

    Mike,

    WIth our current bunch of young players or future stars as you would put it, how do they stack up with some of our past homegrown stars (Wells, Rios, Hinske)?

    The point I’m trying to make is, the three guys I mentioned above were all stars in the making and they all become good major league players with different levels of success. There was a high level of hype and anticipation of them becoming great players. Rios/Hinske were disappointments and did not live up to our hopes.

    My question now is: how are our younger players such as Lawrie, Rasmus, Snider/Thames and others stack up in terms of skills and abilities and where would you see them in say 5 years as far as their achievements will be.

    Like many others, I had a love/hate relationship with Rios and that ended terribly. I even have an autographed game used bat of his that I used to treasure, now it’s under my bed collecting dust.

    So Mike, please tell us that our new corp will be better than those in the past!

    MW: I can’t tell you that, no one can. Rios was a real disappointment, as it turned out, but he still went to two all-star games, and the Blue Jays’ record book has Vernon Wells all over the top of most offensive categories.

    - Antony
  6. 6.

    “But not if you just want to pick a fight, thank you” well said. That should go for your post-game shows too. Was listening to JaysTalk from a few days ago when you had it out with a very rude fan. While I love the program, I can’t stand some of the callers that phone in with negative, ridiculous, “categorically untrue” comments. I applaud you for your approach, I would be doing the same.

    MW: Thank you!

    - John
  7. 7.

    Happy belated birthday Mike. It’s great that Jays got Oliver and Vizquel, you won’t feel old now.:)

    Mike, do you remember what kind of spring training B.J Ryan had back in 2007, before he had his T.J surgery? Do you remember if his velocity had dipped during that spring training? Not connecting the lack of velocity with T.J by any means, but do you think if Doc is having some serious problems with his arm or is it just the age?

    MW: I’m still older than Oliver. Ryan sat out most of that spring with what the Blue Jays said was a back problem. I think he may only have thrown a couple of innings, if that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Roy Halladay.

    - Beburg
  8. 8.

    Hi MIke, I am curious if you think the Blue Jays would move Rajai Davis and keep Snider and Thames. I assume there is an issue of having a back up CF. I wonder if there is an issue of getting enough ABs for both young players. The other scenario is moving Davis and keeping another infielder or McKoy who can handle the infield and the outfield. I assume the Jays at the least want someone to pay all of Davis contract. I wonder if I am seeing this clearly.

    MW: I don’t know if you’re seeing it clearly or not, but you’re not seeing it the same way as the Blue Jays. The presence of Rajai Davis – or Ben Francisco, for that matter, has nothing to do with either Travis Snider or Eric Thames. Neither Snider nor Thames will be on this team to be primarily a back-up or bench player.

    - douglas mccallum
  9. 9.

    michael,
    heard aa on the airwaves last evening with the drive home show host from sportsnet 590 (always forget his name)
    he made the point that there has been many opposing organizations scouts, coaches, media people etc.. as they eyeball this blue jays organization in camp and during games and are calling them the perhaps likely surprise team of mlb in 2012.
    ok. maybe i guess. but realistically i think all of these critical thinkers from within the game had to be moreso just drooling at the mouth at the look of the overall talent on the current major league roster in camp but as much or even moreso the look of all the depth of young talent and likely major leaguers and potential stars showing their wares at virtually all positions and at all levels be it a, aa or aaa. that in my mind is where the frothing mouths are coming from i would think.
    that… i’m thinking michael is where most of the hype about this team and organization going forward is all essentially stemming from.
    and especially the serious glut of young power arms and pitchers that aa has assembled.
    which is needless to say fine all the same…

    - darrell bishop
  10. 10.

    Hey Mike…how about a blog entry dedicated to the LF battle with your insights about all of the things being considered when choosing between Thames and Snider. There’s so much interest in this thing.

    It seems that they have both done what the club has asked them to – Snider has changed and solidified his swing and Thames has come back with a stronger arm and better throws.

    Thames has performed well, and has done nothing to “lose” the job he had for half of 2011. But is that enough given Snider’s performance?

    Snider has outperformed Thames by a little (maybe not enough) and has the greater long-term potential assuming he can hit ML pitching consistently. He always tears up AAA pitching, and it seems at some point he has to be given the long term chance, and not get sent down if he goes through some struggles with the big club. Can he learn anymore at AAA, or is now the time?

    How much consideration is given to which pitchers each faced and what game situations they were in at the plate during ST? How much consideration is given to the fact that Thames played 81(?) games last year, but got to hit in front of Bautista most of the time?

    How much do options play into this equation?

    Lots of questions from lots of people, not just me…would love to hear your more detailed comments!

    By the way…all the Twitter junk directed toward you the past couple of days makes me puke! You’re the best!

    MW: Thanks. It’s a really interesting thing, the Battle (TM), but I talk about it everyday. I don’t know that a post solely dedicated to it would be a good thing, because it would be obsolete the next day. Snider has to outplay Thames by quite a bit in order to win the job, I think. Options won’t play into it at all.

    - Steve in HH
  11. 11.

    You never like to lose assets but something had to give on the 40 man roster for Vizquel. I hope van den Hurk can stick with the Tribe and I wish him well.

    Morrow is kicking some butt today. Can’t wait for this season to get fired up, spring training feels like forever.

    Nice job on the calls today Mike!

    - Slingshot
  12. 12.

    Loving the blog, sir. Between this and the unseasonably warm weather here in Winterpeg, I’m really getting pumped for ball season.
    I know it’s only spring ball, but if the rotation is reasonably strong, the bullpen is better than ’11, Jose is still a beast, and a handful of the young guys — Lawrie, Snider, Morrow, Escobar, Alvarez, Drabek, etc. — approach their potential, it is POSSIBLE for this team to contend.
    Currently planning my April trip out to the Big Smoke to watch some ball. Hoping I’ll feel compelled to plan a September trip too.
    Cheers!

    MW: If those “ifs” wind up being positives, the Blue Jays will win the division.

    - hammer
  13. 13.

    Excuse me — did Darrell Bishop really say that he “forgets” the name of Bob McCown? Serious heresy!

    - Norm
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