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    SportsBlue Jays hope roster stays healthy as league injuries spike - Sportsnet.ca

    Blue Jays hope roster stays healthy as league injuries spike – Sportsnet.ca

    Blue Jays hope roster stays healthy as league injuries spike – Sportsnet.ca

    March 9, 2023, 5:57 p.m.

    DUNEDIN, Fla. – The old saying “hope is eternal” applies only to the start of spring training. The truth is, once players start to emerge and baseball ends, the potential for doom and gloom is always lurking just around the corner.

    Just ask the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost shortstop Gavin Lucks for the entire season to an ACL injury. Or the San Diego Padres, who will be without Joe Musgrove for some time after he broke his right thumb in a weight room accident.

    On Thursday, some of the charm of spring training dissipated in New York Yankees camp when general manager Brian Cashman signed Carlos Rodon, the club’s prized offseason addition to a six-year, $162 million contract. , to start the campaign. IL with strain of the left forearm. Rhoden will join relievers Tommy Conley and Lou Trivino after news broke last month that starter Frankie Montas would undergo shoulder surgery and miss all of 2023.

    This will undoubtedly be a great test of organizational depth for the AL East champions.

    Back at Toronto Blue Jays camp, meanwhile, the picture is very different. Manager John Schneider knows this.

    “You always worry about health and things like that, especially early in camp,” Schneider said after the team’s 3-1 split win over the Atlanta Braves at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida.

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    “I don’t want to make fun of it, but you want to leave camp healthy. You should have your complete list ready for publication by March 30.

    On that front, the manager got some good news on Thursday. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., dealing with inflammation in his right knee, told Schneider that he was “feeling good” after participating in morning baseball activities at the Blue Jays’ player development complex.

    Guerrero Jr. kept up his usual pregame routine of hitting in and out of the cages during batting practice. Schneider said he looked like himself and the first baseman had a few runs and ground balls.

    “Good morning, we are going in the right direction,” said the manager. “I think it’s a good sign that he’s around today.”

    Guerrero Jr. will hit live pitchers on Friday and will be re-evaluated over the weekend, at which time the Blue Jays will decide when he can return to game action.

    “It helps with how much time we have left in camp and where it is,” Schneider said. «He was locked up (before the injury). It was built. So, that gives us a good base to fall back on. But we have to have a lot of time to prepare it.”

    Receiver Alejandro Kirk, who was late for camp due to the birth of his daughter, is progressing well and could see game action early next week, Schneider said.

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    One of the big questions heading into spring training for the Blue Jays is how baseball’s new shot clock will affect right-hander Kevin Gausman and his footwork. On Thursday, he made his second Grapefruit League start, and that issue didn’t appear to be a factor.

    Gausman allowed just two singles, drew no walks and struck out two in his 3.2 innings. He threw 48 pitches (32 strikes), relying primarily on his four-seam fastball, clocked at 96.9 mph, while mixing up his splitter. The most important thing is that he didn’t break any of the new rules of the game.

    The right-hander also executed a nifty back pick in the second inning, striking out Cavan Biggio at second base to catch Sam Hilliard. Gausman believes that with his pitching, combined with the new rule that limits pitchers to two pitchers (pick-off attempts or step-offs) per hitter, many baserunners will try to prove it.

    “There will be certain situations in the game where teams will try to push themselves to the limit,” Gausman said. “So if you burn (a commitment) early, you’ll see guys running all over the place. But it was amazing to do the things we’ve been working on all camp: post-tests. When it works, you can get it quickly and easily. The 90-footer will be at a premium this season compared to others, so if you pick the guys and keep them guessing right there, you can win.

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    Gassman and fellow Blue Jays starters Alec Manoa, Chris Bassit and José Berrios make up one of the best rotations in the American League. Granted, it’s a healthy unit compared to the division rival Yankees, who entered the spring with a strong starting lineup.

    “If we have a four-game streak, you’re looking at a completely different headline every night,” Gausman said. “Although he goes back to Manoa and Berríos, his things are different. You know, they’re singer and slider types, but the way the ball leaves Manoa’s hands is different than mine and different than Bassitt’s.

    “It’s a good mix of stuff and experience,” he continued. “I’ve been on a few teams where guys had very similar things and I always felt like teams could find a plan of attack.”

    There are still three weeks left in the club’s first four-game campaign, so there is plenty of time for the pessimism to strike. However, Schneider will take the route that is now underway.

    “So far, so good,” the manager said.


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