Help me out locals, is he always this far off base?
In his column posted last night he voices a couple of opinions I agree with, but also throws out some head scratching points.
He starts off well, voicing his(unaware) agreement with the point made previously here and on other blogs that Brian Tallet should not have been in the rotation to begin with and certainly shouldn't be back there upon his return. But in the course of making that point, he says this:
"Right-hander Jesse Litsch is on the mend and is expected to be ready for big-league duty in a month’s time."
Litsch hasn't thrown a single pitch in live action and may not even be throwing sides yet. When a pitcher comes through the rehab process (in minor league games) from Tommy John Surgery to get back to active status it takes more than a month to do and Litsch hasn't even begun that process. He won't be in a position to rejoin the Jays until after the All-Star break at best and with the wealth of options they have he may well not pitch in the majors at all this year.
My guess? Rutsey was thinking of Marc Rzepczynski, rather than Litsch. Zep by the way, if you were wondering, has been the subject of exactly NO reporting concerning his recovery status, even though he was said to have been sidelined for six weeks and more than three of them have passed. But it's much more logical for Rutsey to be speculating on his soon return.
Looking over the Jays' upcoming schedule, Cecil would get three more turns then that slot would fall on an off day. IF Cecil fails (which I for one don't think he will) then you go all the way to May 18 before you ask yourself if Cecil stays, Mills takes a shot, or if Zep is ready (he'd be seven weeks from his injury at that point). Of course, we should all be prepared to swallow the bitter pill as we watch Clarance give the spot back to Tallet on May 3.
Update: According to Rotoworld, Litsch faced live hitters today for the first time in Extended Spring Training and is expected to begin a rehab assignment in about two weeks if there are no setbacks. That would probably put him on a "best case" schedule of being ready for the majors in mid-June. But a lot of pitchers have at least one setback along the way.
Switching to the hitters, Rutsey comments on the Jays weak links in the batting order, making valid observations regarding Overbay and Snider and then slipping in this aside:
"DH Adam Lind (.290, 3, 11) has yet to heat up but it’s only a matter of time."
I'm not going to bag on him for this, it's true Lind had an OPS of .858 as of that writing and it should go up of course. BUT, just in terms of an old fashioned look at the counting stats he cites - those pro-rate to 30 HR and 110 RBI so that's fairly warm.
Anyway, moving on - Here's the next point I want to gripe about:
Yo Mike, couple of points:
"The good news for the Jays, when they open a three-game set against the Rays in St. Petersburg Friday, will be the return of second baseman Aaron Hill and his bat.
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez has been hitting in Hill’s No. 2 spot to great success and should be rewarded by having him bat leadoff upon Hill’s return.
Newly acquired Fred Lewis is doing nothing in the leadoff spot, so why not give Gonzalez a shot while he’s hot?"
1. Lewis has been starting at the lead off spot, at the time of your writing, for all of FOUR GAMES!!!!! Sample size much?
2. Alex Gonzalez hot? In the previous six games: .167/.200/.375/.575
In his previous ten games: .244/.295/.439/.734
In the 10 game homestand if you take out the April 15 game in which he went 4/5 with 2 doubles? .167/.211/.333/.544
Small sample? Heck yeah but twice the sample afforded to Lewis. At the time of the writing, it couldn't be argued that Gonzo was hot (admittedly, he had a solid game tonight - so far his home/road split is insane).
In any case, whatever one may say for Gonzalez, his success so far arises from unexpected power. Even if you think he's for real (even temporarily), his OBP is .320 and his slugging is .611 so in what world do you look at that and think "lead off hitter!"
Maybe it was a fluke . . . maybe this is what happens when a reporter blogs? Still, whatever. Might as well give Grif a break (after all, he lost his whipping boy so times are harder for him anyway).
If you want to get your schoolgirl giddiness on, check out this piece about the Golden Boy. It's real hard not to ruin my keyboard with the excess drool provoked by articles like that.
In tonight's action -
- Don't let Brett Cecil's one bad pitch in the seventh make you forget the rest of his night.
- Brett Wallace pounded his SEVENTH homer in his 16th at AAA las Vegas tonight. PCL adjustment caveats apply but . . . daaaaammmmn.
- LHP Luis Perez, who's been getting a lot of buzz so far, had a rough outing tonight for AA New Hampshire thanks in no small part to issuing five walks against only one strikeout.
- Travis D'arnoud is cooling a bit, having gone 0/4 for the second straight night but he's still having a very hot start overall.
- As if the Jays didn't have a wealth of catching prospects to consider already, 19 year old Antonio Jimenez has been en fuego since coming off the DL, with a 1.409 OPS in his first four games back. It's a tiny sample but it's the first signs of life in the young man's bat in his professional career so it's encouraging.
Be looking for my Monthly Minor League Report next weekend.