Manager's pep talk shrouded in secrecy
Blue Jays manager John Farrell (BRAD WHITE/Getty Images/AFP)
Prior to the Blue Jays' pre-batting practice stretch, manager John Farrell had a brief chat with his players in left field where they start their baseball activities by playing catch. Not ony would Farrell not reveal the nature of his brief talk, he wouldn't acknowledge it had taken place.
He was asked: When did you feel you needed to talk to the team as a whole?
"When?" Farrell replied
Q: Did you?
"You didn't see it ... so," Farrell said.
This reporter was in the clubhouse at the time and was informed of what took place on the field by other reporters.
Q: That's why I'm asking.
"No .... no," Farrell replied.
Okay, moving on.
The Jays bench on Sunday consisted of two players who could actually play if needed -- Omar Vizquel and Kelly Johnson. Shortstop Yunel Escobar left after the eighth inning on Saturday, the result of having been hit on the left elbow by Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova. He didn't start Sunday. Neither did outfielder Colby Rasmus, who aggravated his right groin injury on Friday.
"Colby needs another couple of games while Yunel feels the same as he did the end of (Saturday), so it gives a chance to see Hech (Adeiny Hechavarria at short and (Mike) McCoy at second base," Farrell said.
Johnson didn't start at second due to a couple of factors.
"Right-handers (Johnson bats left) have had much more success against (Yankees pitcher Phil) Hughes than left-handers," Farrell said. "Kelly is dealing with some groin issues himself and we felt like it's a chance to get another right-handed bat in the lineup."
The lineup the Jays had on the field to start Sunday's game featured just one regular -- Edwin Encarnacion. The lineup when healthy, however, is one that GM Alex Anthopoulos believes is one of the better offences in the league.
"I think we all know that when the lineup was healthy, even after Jose (Bautista) was hurt, we still were leading all of baseball in runs scored," Anthopoulos said. "From an offensive standpoint I think we feel very good about where we are going forward."
BULLY FOR ME
The Jays bullpen has been revamped, what with the addition of Brandon Lyon from Houston, Steve Delabar from Seattle, and Brad Lincoln from Pittsburgh, as well as the solid contribution and development of lefty Aaron Loup, who was promoted from New Hampshire.
"I think the bullpen's really solidified itself now," Anthopoulos said of his handiwork. "It's a lot deeper than it's been. It's probably the best collection of guys that we've had since I've been here, top to bottom."