Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Injuries to Starting Pitchers are Strictly Prohibited by Law!

Casey Janssen? Why, God? Why?

Hrm, well, hopefully somebody cleaned up on his 2008 Jays injury pool because it was unexpected to the extreme that he'd be the first victim of the "I" word.

Before we jump to any conclusions, it must be noted that we really don't know if this is anything serious or not just yet. Janssen smartly took the extreme precaution of raising the alarm at the the earliest possible instance, which is commendable since he did get himself temporarily in JP's dog house for concealing back woes in 2006. He's gone in for an MRI, which may well show that there's really nothing the matter with his throwing shoulder and this was all just normal aches and pains.

What we do know, however, is that this pretty much kills any hope of Janssen heading North as our fifth starter.

Since Janssen is a valued contributor to the club (unlike Victor Zambrano), this injury will have to be handled with kid gloves (unlike it was last year with Victor Zambrano). Even if he is pitching again before the end of spring training, there just won't be enough time for him to stretch out for starting duties by the end of the month. If he's healthy, he'll be back in the bully with the rest of BJ's Men, which means somebody like Wolfe or Tallet undeservedly gets bumped. That being the case, newly acquired shit-disturber Armando Benitez doesn't have a taco's chance of making the roster.

The upshot is that the starting job Janssen was highly likely to win has now pretty much been thrown into Jesse Litsch's lap. Gustavo Chacin threw two hot, stinky innings against the Yankees today and I think it's time for the final member of the Chacin Man Booster Club to turn off the lights on his way out. This is a one man race from here on out, provided there are no further injuries to the staff.

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike Litsch or anything, I just liked Janssen better. Waaaaay better. From the club's perspective it would've been preferable to hold Jesse back at Syracuse so he could gain experience; he has a mere two AAA starts under his belt and his major league peripherals show that he danced with the devil in 2007. It would also have been nice to have him ready as the first in line to come up as an injury replacement and, selfishly, to keep his service clock from ticking.

I think we all accept that everything has to go perfectly this year for the Jays to get a deep whiff of a playoff berth. If Janssen's not starting this year we're pretty much pooched when one of Doc/AJ/McG/Marcum gets hurt with Litsch already in the rotation unless everything comes together beautifully for big lefty Dave Purcey. Or less probably, Ricky Romero. I'm really pulling for Purcey. You can probably abandon all hope if Gus Chacin gets more than a handful of starts this year and you know we're dusted if you see any of Josh Banks before September.

Please don't throw tomatoes at me, but I think it might be a good idea to get something done with Kyle Lohse. He could be stashed in the pen if he's not needed as a starter. His ERA+ has been on the right side of 100 (just barely) two years out of rhe last three and a fair chunk of those innings came in hitters' parks in Cincy and Philly. And if everything turns out rosy by mid-season, it's pretty likely you could find someone to take his contract off the books and chuck in a low-value prospect. Apparently the Orioles expressed some interest last week, but that's been about it.

On a brighter note, we were quite pleased to receive shout outs from a couple of the big swingin' dicks of the Jays blogosphere, DJF and The Tao of Steib. We just take it one game at a time, always give 110% and try to get our uniforms dirty...

-- Johnny Was

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