I almost sprayed a moutful of coffee all over the monitor this morning when I saw the headline "Toronto Return Eyed By Josh" in the Boston Herald. This was a nearly tragic over-reaction, of course, since this Beantown paper was referring to one Josh Beckett as I was soon to discover.
But to me there's one Josh that stands at the head of the queue: Josh Towers, the Original Shit Leopard (tm). That Josh has just been placed on waivers by the Rockies, who have chosen to go with fellow shitballer and general bringer of bad mojo, Mark Redman, as their fifth starter. JT will probably end up sloshing around the minors for a few weeks or months before reemerging somewhere (San Diego?), as shit leopards tend to do.
I reiterate: Josh Towers is NOT coming back to Toronto.
Blair checks in on the injured Scotty Rolen and there's good and bad in the tea leaves. His doctor (and Blair) figure he won't be back playing until May, but Rolen himself is hinting at a much earlier return to game action:
"In 14 days, we'll take the pin out and we'll move on," Rolen said. "Dr. Graham seemed to think it would be a bigger problem throwing [than hitting] because the middle finger would be the last finger the ball would leave. The first four or five days after rehab, he's talking about picking up a bat to see how it feels. At the three-week point or more [after surgery], he thinks I should be ready to pick up a ball and see how it feels.
"He gave a four to six-week window from the time of surgery. Hopefully, we can be optimistic and cut it down the right way, the smart way. I don't want to be throwing my finger across the diamond."Cathal Kelly sees him returning April 21 at home against the Tigers at the earliest (Wilner says the 25th), which makes me somewhat sheepish of my earlier boasts that he'd be back by the 15th... Note to self: expunge all Scott Rolen records from the archives.
Matt Stairs did his minor league tune-up yesterday and it appears that his hip woes will not force him to miss Opening Day. Don't be surprised, however, when he ends up playing less at the expense of Shannon Stewart in the early going. And maybe the middle going, too.
Brad Arnsberg is talking of an April 11 return for the Beej. This is, as always, not set in stone. But still, cautious enthusiasm.
Rance Mulliniks and Will are on the same page: these Jays are serious contenders. Chris Zelkovich of the Star also notes that Sportsnet's ratings for Jays games were down 19% last year. Ouch, perhaps that's some explanation as to why Uncle Ted has seemed like a gold-hoarding troll in regards to a payroll hike this offseason.
TV notes: the Jays-Phillies exhibition game at Chase tonight is indeed on TV and The Season: '08 Jays is on Sunday night at 7:30. Both on Sportsnet.
The painful wait until real games start is down to its final three days...
* Bosox RF JD "Nancy" Drew, who missed the entire season opening series in Tokyo due to tightness in his lower back, is still in discomfort but aims to be ready for real games next week. We'll see. Last year Bosox GM Theo Epstein invested $70 million (5 years) in Drew and $36 million (4 years) on Julio Lugo. Both sucked intensely last year and it's a pretty safe bet that neither will play up to his salary in '08.
-- Johnny Was