Spring Training: Pitchers and catchers first workout

The Blue Jays second day of Spring Training is in the books with all of the pitchers and catchers now in attendance. Second baseman Kelly Johnson, outfielder Ben Francisco and infielder Omar Vizquel were among the new arrivals of position players with the reporting date for that group set for Friday.

On the main site you will find today’s Notebook with items on Vizquel and Johnson. Also you’ll find my feature on the club needing improved performance from their starting rotation in order to have any chance at the postseason and a piece looking at the signing of Rick VandenHurk with an injury update on prospect Alan Farina.

I’ve included some leftovers from John Farrell’s scrum with the media today. Also, don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB where I’m posting daily pictures and also including any breaking news.

Farrell:

On the improved bullpen…

“Alex did an outstanding job of bringing in the guys that are here today. The one thing that became very clear during the offseason, as we continue to add either through trade or free agent signing, is that they were guys that had more recent success in the roles that they are coming off from a year ago.

“It’s a diverse group in the standpoint of the ability to matchup. We’ve got some guys that can go multiple innings. With the addition of VandenHurk today, he’s going to be a guy that will mix in and compete for the long guy out of the bullpen.

On the need for a second lefty…

“We want the best pitchers who are going to make us the best and most complete pitching staff. If that’s right handed or left handed that will work itself out but any time you have multiple left-handers that can be a luxury obviously to be able to match up earlier in the game before you get into that seventh, eighth, ninth inning type of a situation but we want the most dependable, reliable guys when we break north.”

On Cordero starting with a clean inning…

“It would be (ideal). That’s our view right now and that’s how we would look to approach things — is to give him a clean inning. That’s what he has been accustomed to as a closer and I think any reliever, you’d like ideally for them to come into an inning they can come in and start themselves.”

On the interest in VandenHurk…

“We’ve always had very good reports on him. He’s always had very good arm strength, he’s had good swing and miss, particularly effective against right-handed hitters. He’s a guy that has started in the past, and with that starting experience behind him, he’s a guy that can pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen.”

On McGowan…

“Consistent with his bullpens before camp opened up. He doesn’t take added time to get into the flow of the bullpen, he doesn’t need extra throws to get loose. By comparison, relative to everyone else in cam,p he has mainstreamed. The ball has good sink coming out of his hand and it has been very encouraging in the two weeks leading up to today the way he has thrown the ball off the mound.”

On Bautista reportedly being drug tested 16 times in the past two years…

“When you see that number of tests administered it makes you take a step back and say is there additional thought behind that. We’re privy to seeing his work ethic and intelligence, and the adjustments he’s capable of making, you might look at it and say are those tests because this is someone whose broken out and really become and elite player and superstar, I’d like to think and which we all know, it’s the result of hard work and adjustments along the way and not something artificial.

“The fact that he’s had that many tests and they’ve all been negative, speaks more volume to the fact there’s nothing hidden here and there’s nothing for it to be attributed to other than the fact that you’re looking at a damn good player who’s put in a lot of hard work and learned along the way. That’s the reason for his success, not a shortcut.”

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