Tag:Blue Jays
Posted on: September 22, 2010 9:30 pm

M's Lopez goes on homer tear

Jose Lopez
What got into Jose Lopez?

In a meaningless game in Toronto on Wednesday night, the Seattle second baseman, who entered the night with seven home runs on the season, tore off three in a span of five innings. He hit a solo shot off starter Kyle Drabek in the third, another solo shot in the sixth against Brian Tallet and a two-run homer against Shawn Camp in the eighth. All three went to left field.

Lopez is in theory auditioning for his next job -- the Mariners are highly unlikely to exercise their $4.5 million option on him for next season -- but hasn't been putting on much of a show. His season line entering Wednesday was .234/.264/.319, giving him a .582 OPS that's the second-lowest among all qualified players in the American League. He was batting an amazingly bad .169/.189/.197 in September and hadn't hit a home run since August 16.

Wednesday's outburst will make his numbers look a little more respectable, but Lopez is still likely to find the job market chilly this winter.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 18, 2010 8:59 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2010 9:00 pm

Riggleman likely to stay in Washington

Jim Riggleman With a plethora of managerial openings going into the offseason already assured and some likely on the way, potential new managers figure to dominate the conversation over the next several weeks.

The latest dish has deposed Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu being considered as a candidate for the Blue Jays and Cubs job, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. He also adds that additional candidates for the Jays job include two-time manager Bob Melvin, who is popping up on quite a few lists, and Nationals coach Pat Listach.

Speaking of the Nationals, manager Jim Riggleman is expected to return as manager, the Washington Post writes . While Riggleman inked a two-year deal after a successful interim manager stint guided Riggleman to the permanent job, the second year of the deal could be bought out for a scant $100,000. In other words, Riggleman essentially inked a one-year deal with very little job security past 2010.

But it appears Riggleman has the job sewn up in a year that saw the Nationals take the next step toward contention despite a 62-85 record entering play Saturday.

"We haven't announced a final call, but we've made a definite decision," GM Mike Rizzo said Saturday. "We haven't made an announcement to him or to the public."

However, when asked if the fact Riggleman remained manager is something that could be "read into," Rizzo answered in the affirmative, having nothing but nice things to say about the skipper.

"The whole circus of [pitching phenom Stephen] Strasburg leading up throughout the season, that was management," Rizzo said. "There was a lot of management that he had to do to get through that. I think he kept everybody at their best while that was going on."

So Riggleman seems to get high marks for player management. How about in-game strategy?

"What we've always liked about, as in-game strategist, he's really good about that," Rizzo added. "He's as good as anybody."

It remains to be seen if Riggleman inks an extension. It is likely he will play out the last season of the deal before Rizzo and the organization decide the future of the on-field team's leader.

 -- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: September 17, 2010 7:02 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 7:25 pm

Strong interest in former D-Backs pick

Remember Barret Loux?

Loux was the sixth overall pick in June's draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Loux, a right-hander out of Texas A&M, failed his physical and the Diamondbacks decided not to sign him. Instead, Arizona was awarded compensatory draft picks in 2011 and Loux was given free agency.

Anyway, Loux worked out for "about 15" teams in College Station, Texas, on Friday. Among the teams there was Loux's hometown Astros.

"The fact there were 15 teams there today and the fact some clubs didn't sign their first-round [picks] showed there was some interest," Astros director of scouting Bobby Heck told MLB.com . "The fact we have somewhere [shows] our interest is sincere. We'll do our work on it. You have to have balance, not only the evaluation process, but because of the medical circumstances [team medical director] Dr. [David] Lintner becomes part of our process as well as we gauge where we can or can't go on this."

Loux was 11-2 with a  2.83 ERA for the Aggies last season and is currently in school finishing up his degree. According to Heck, Loux and his people aren't in a  rush, they just what something "in place later in the fall and know where their landing place is for spring training."

UPDATE: MLB.com's Brian McTaggart lists the other teams there -- the Dodgers, Twins, Marlins, Reds, Yankees, Pirates, A's, Brewers, Mets, Angels, Blue Jays and Royals.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 11, 2010 5:55 pm

Jays' Cecil suffering from fatigue

Brett Cecil With 155 innings under his belt, Brett Cecil has already blown past his 2009 innings total, but manager Cito Gaston doesn't see a need currently to shut down the young lefty.

"If he has to be shut down, then we'll do that," Gaston told MLB.com , adding he hoped that wasn't the case. It's an interesting statement to make in light of the club shutting down Brandon Morrow, as if there's two divergent philosophies occurring.

For Cecil's part, he's concerned about fatigue. After a strong start against the Yankees, Cecil lasted just two innings Friday against the Rays, coughing up seven runs. Cecil mentioned his fastball wasn't up to par with his season totals. He averaged 89.55 mph on his fastballs with a season average of 90.2 mph.

The 23-year-old Cecil has made 25 starts, checking in with a 4.12 ERA, giving up an average of three walks per nine innings and a 6.4 K/9 and has been an important part of Toronto's surprisingly strong season.

Gaston said Cecil hasn't approached him with any concerns of arm fatigue and plans to see Cecil toe the mound Wednesday against the Orioles.

"If he feels like he's tired, we'll skip him or see what we can do with it," said Gaston. "You're gonna have to get through that. If you're arm's sore and you're hurting, that's different. But if you're tired, i think you're going to have to battle through that."

Even if Cecil is only suffering from being tired, the Jays may want to keep a close eye on the youngster's ever-rising innings total. There's no reason to keep throwing Cecil out there through the rest of the season with no postseason spot on the line. After two or three more starts, bringing his innings mark to around 170-175, the Jays should very strongly consider shutting Cecil down for the rest of the year.

To replace him in the rotation, Toronto could turn to Rommie Lewis or Brian Tallet.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:22 am

Attendance on slight decline

Major League Baseball is on track to see an attendance decline for the second straight year following record turnstile spinning in 2008.

Analysis by bizofbaseball.com shows the numbers entering Thursday are down 0.85 percent from last season, with an average crowd of 30,156, down from 30,415 last year.

The Mets have seen the biggest decline, going from the boost of Citi Field's inaugural season in 2009 to a drop of 6,339 per game in this disappointing year. The Indians, who have baseball's lowest attendance, are off 4,543 per game and the Blue Jays 4,291.

The opening of Target Field has provided the biggest boost, with the Twins up 11,091 per game. The Rangers are seeing bigger crowds (by 3,097) in their successful season, and the Rockies are up 3,006 per game.

Despite the overall decline, I don't think this news can be viewed as anything but good. Despite a deep and prolonged economic downturn, baseball posted the fifth-highest attendance in history last year and have stayed within a percentage point of that level this year. All while the cost of going to a game, and the number of entertainment alternatives, continue to rise.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 4, 2010 3:51 pm

Jays' Bautista tossed in tie game

Jose Bautista The last series between the Yankees and Blue Jays, Jose Bautista was yelling at Yankees pitchers. On Saturday, it was home plate umpire Ed Hickox on the other side of Bautista's braking.

With two on and no outs in a tie game, Bautista was called out on strikes against New York's Joba Chamberlain. Bautista let Hickox know what he thought of the call and was ejected.

Replays and MLB.com's pitch tracker both showed the ball was well outside, bolstering Bautista's point.

But being right doesn't make the situation any better. Bautista is the Jays' best shot at untying the game with a single swing. The next Jays batter, Vernon Wells, grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Yankees' Marcus Thames hit a two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning to untie the game.

Bautista leads the majors with 43 home runs and hit two against the Yankees on Aug. 23, including one after New York starter Ivan Nova threw near his head.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 2, 2010 1:09 am

Forgiving Trop rewards Maddon

Joe Maddon
Joe Maddon basically rules. He's the smartest person you'll even run across, insightful, witty and educated. Because of all those attributes, he can do things like claim that Tropicana Field dodged a baseball because he apologized to it on Twitter, and people don't think he's a crackpot.

As you might remember, the Rays lost a game last month due to a ball hitting one of the Trop's catwalks, sending Maddon on a tirade about how it was proof Tampa needed a "real" ballpark. Maddon detailed on Twitter how he made his peace with the ballpark:
most recent whine was my getting on Trop roof, have since apologized to said roof and r now on much better terms, maybe best ever...
Wednesday night against Toronto, visions of the catwalk game came rushing back as a ball hit by John Buck with two outs in the ninth soared deep to left field. If it had hit the catwalk, it would have counted as a two-run, go-ahead homer. But it dropped into Carl Crawford's glove and the Rays won 2-1.

"I have made amends with the building, and I have promised not to whine again, and I think because of that, that's why the ball missed something," Maddon told reporters afterward. "It was going to hit something, but it missed something. I think I actually saw the catwalk move several inches to avoid that ball."

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:55 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 9:53 pm

Jays' Accardo remains stuck in Triple-A

Jeremy Accardo Jeremy Accardo clearly has had enough of Triple-A, having spent the majority of the last two seasons at that level despite no overwhelming reason for Toronto to keep him there.

Even Triple-A pitching coach Dave LaRoche says Accardo has no business in the minors.

"Actually, his stuff might be better this year," LaRoche told the Las Vegas Review-Journal of Accardo's second season in Triple-A. "He can get frustrated, but I try to remind him he's not just pitching for Toronto, he's pitching for all the rest of the teams, too, because there are scouts at every game, almost."

Accardo posted a 2.14 ERA in 67 1/3 innings for the Jays in 2007, notching 30 saves. It's been all downhill from there, as the righty was injured much of 2008. He made 26 appearances for the big-league team in 2009, posting a 2.55 ERA, but spent most of the year with Las Vegas. He had an even 3.00 ERA in 30 innings, showing enough for a big-league job -- which he thought he would get with new GM Alex Anthopoulous.

"I was lied to a lot last year, where I was told one thing and something else ended up happening," Accardo said. "That didn't sit well with me, but I turned [over] a [new] leaf and we talked and [Anthopoulous] told me everything's going to change, and really things haven't changed."

Accardo broke spring training with the team but did not pitch for two straight weeks before coughing up six runs in 6 2/3 innings and earning a demotion.

"That's not setting someone up for success in my eyes," Accardo said. "I'm not making excuses … but it's tough to get in a groove when you don't pitch."

As the closer for Las Vegas, Accardo has 23 saves and a 3.56 ERA, showing yet again there's nothing in the minors for him -- not for a pitcher he feels is better than 2007.

"I might not have the same fastball as I did, but I don't need it," Accardo said. "I can hit corners, sink and cut and do different things. I've learned how to pitch instead of just throw, which is better."

So... a better pitcher stuck in Triple-A for a second straight year. One would think he would be frustrated, much like he was last season. Not so, not with a wife and child.

"Those two things right there are the only reasons why this has been a great year," said Accardo, 28. "If I didn't have my wife [Carly] and my son [Larson] and my family, it would be just like last year, [and I'd be] a little miserable and bitter."

Accardo has no idea if he'll be called up to join the bullpen once rosters expand to 40, but the good news for the righty is that he is eligible for arbitration. Making $1.08 million, it's doubtful Toronto will allocate that money again to him, likely non-tendering him and making him a free agent.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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