Back in action…

Well, that wasn’t a very fun couple of days. Lots of moves going on with the Blue Jays over the past 48 hours and I was stuck at home with a bad case of strep throat. It was nice to be able to get back to the ballpark, though, now that I’m no longer contagious and see some of newest Blue Jays in person.

Still trying to get caught up with some of the things that I missed but make sure to check out the main site for all of the coverage. There’s today’s notebook with items on Brad Mills, Jesse Litsch and Roberto Alomar. There will obviously be a full recap following tonight’s game against the Rangers and Arden Zwelling had you covered with all of the news on the roster moves of the previous two days.

In the meantime… here are some extra items that didn’t make it into today’s notebook. There are some comments from John Farrell on Deck McGuire’s first start in Double-A and also his response to a question about Colby Rasmus’ defense. You’ll also find plenty of leftovers on Mills and Litsch.

Don’t forget… you can find me on Twitter @gregorMLB

John Farrell

On Deck McGuire’s debut in Double-A….

“I thought he threw the ball good despite some early nervousness. He settled down. The one thing about Deck is that he was a pretty advanced pitcher coming out of the Draft. His curveball is the one pitch that has continued to develop more so than he showed in college, where he was a good two-seamer, good cutter type of guy.

“But the fact that the curveball has continued — it was a pitch in college that was in the low 70s, now all of a sudden it’s a pitch where it’s in the upper 70s. It has added about six mph to it. When you consider a breaking ball with that improvement,  that becomes more of a legitimate Major League weapon when you’re in that 78-80 mph range.

“This is a guy that — major college program — (is) a little bit more of a finished  product coming out of the Draft than compared to a high school arm. An intelligent kid. You’d like to think his path through the Minor Leagues would be relatively shorter than maybe a traditional path.”

On Colby Rasmus’ defense…

“The one thing I think we’ll come to understand is that he is a very graceful athlete. At times, when you see that smoothness it can be interpreted as he doesn’t get good reads, he doesn’t get good jumps or he’s not explosive. We’re not going to rush to judgement in any way after nine innings and looking forward — more than anything — getting settled and getting accustomed to coming into this ballpark and starting to face the people in this league that he’s going to face more regularly.”

How Litsch will be used…

“We know against right-handers he has been extremely successful — and that’s not to say he is purely a matchup reliever —  but when you have the ability to use him in certain spots to take advantage of that performance that’s where we see it initially taking place.

“He also gives us the ability to go multiple innings. (I) want to also include this isn’t closing the door on his capability of starting down the line.”

Litsch cutting down on pitches…

“Jesse has thrown 3-4 pitches when he’s been a starter. Two-seam, four-seam, which is a fastball. A cutter, he has used a curveball on occasion and a straight changeup. So, again, the need for those multiple pitches, the third and fourth one, is when you go through the order that third and fourth time.”

Brad Mills (9-7, 3.99 ERA in Triple-A)

On pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League…

“Numbers can be misleading. The PCL is a tough place to pitch. I learned that my first year and I feel like you can throw well, and people who aren’t at the games and don’t watch them, look at the numbers and deem you to be struggling. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been in a dark struggle or anything.”

Biggest difference between this season and previous years…

“I’d say the biggest thing that’s different now is my health. Not that I was ever really, really injured or anything but just feeling fresh, my arm’s feeling great, my legs are feeling good, that’s the biggest thing any pitcher or position player will tell you. If you feel healthy, if you feel comfortable and you can really trust your abilities out there to work and get outs.”

Any change in mechanics or pitches thrown…

“I’ve kind of added another pitch — a cut fastball here and there. I’ve really committed to that. I tried it in the past and usually scrapped it after a month or so. But this year I said, ‘Hey, I’m going to commit to it good or bad’  and it has worked out. Some games it has been really good, some games it hasn’t, but like I said I’m committed to throwing it and using it. I feel like it helps my other stuff as well.”

On lack of job security…

“Every player will tell you I just want to be in the rotation, and give me a fair shot or a longer leash, or whatever, but I’ve kind of realized in three years that I’ve been up and down and that’s kind of the way it is. It’s a business.

“You want to win and if I go and don’t throw well they might make a chance because there are other guys, whether down in the Minors, or here, that are looking to take your job too. That’s the way it is and really that’s good because even during the game you just take it pitch by pitch.

“I’m going to take it start by start, pitch by pitch, inning by inning, all that stuff and try to keep it as simple as possible.”

Jesse Litsch (1-2, 8.16 ERA in Triple-A)

On moving to the bullpen…

“I don’t know, it’s something new. It could be great it could be something that is just normal. Like I said, I’m open minded to try it and hopefully good comes out of it.”

On finally being healthy…

“It has been a tough three years now. But it’s just a matter of you have to get through it. You have to stay positive and keep your mind right and go, just stay mentally focused and physically strong.”

On stint in Las Vegas…

“I threw the ball well. The ball came out well. I was healthy that’s the main thing. Numbers are one thing but how you do down there, how you feel, is another thing. I felt great, ball was coming out great, ball was moving that’s the main thing for me.”

Different mentality coming out of the bullpen…

“I don’t know yet. It’s something new. I’m going to be down there for the first time today and try to go with the flow and see what happens.”

Cutting down on pitches…

“I’m not sure yet. I’ve got six that work well, that’s the thing. It’s something that I’ve always used and I’m able to use all of them. We just got Trever Miller and I know he has a lot of pitches too, he’s a lefty specialist. He’s someone I’ll definitely talk to about that and get a sense of what to throw and what to get rid of.”

Prefer being a starter…

“Yeah, that’s what I’ve always done but like I said I’m open minded. It’s a matter of doing what they want me to do. I just want to pitch, that’s the main thing. Get out there on the mound and compete, that’s the main thing, that’s what we live for, that’s what the love of game is right there.”

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