More bad luck for Litsch

Right-hander Jesse Litsch received more bad luck this week as it was revealed on Sunday morning that he will not be able to throw for the next six weeks because of an infection in his right shoulder. It’s the latest setback for Litsch, who in the past few years has also had to deal with a shoulde impingement and Tommy John surgery. On the main Blue Jays website you can find my article on Litsch, explanation of the platelet-rich plasma injection he received that caused the problem and a timetable for his return.

Also on the main site you can find an article on left-hander Aaron Laffey, who is competing for a spot in Toronto’s rotation. It doesn’t appear as though Laffey has much of a shot at a starting gig but if injuries play a factor at some point in camp then that could change. Laffey got the start in today’s 8-5 victory over the Pirates and allowed one run in two innings of work.

The Blue Jays, who have started the Grapefruit League season, will head to Lakeland on Monday to take on Prince Fielder and the Tigers. As usual I’ll have all the coverage on the main site and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB for various tidbits on Spring Training. If you’re not following me that means you didn’t get the play-by-play of a rather fat cat running onto the field during today’s game –riveting stuff or what!?!?

Here are today’s leftovers with lots of stuff from the Blue Jays’ bullpen, Travis Snider and John Farrell:

Travis Snider (2-for-4, 2B, 1 R, 1 SB, 3 RBI):

Good day today. Had a variety of opportunities in the field, on the bases and at the plate. Just getting out there and competing against somebody other than guys on your own team. You go through the first two weeks and you’re just practising.

“Batting practice, it gets a little monotonous but you put the work in, get the drills done, so when game time comes, you’re able to make good decisions and get back into game shape.”

On the competition between Thames for the job in LF…

“On the field and even away from the field, I’ve got to concentrate on what I can control. I don’t ever go out there rooting for Eric to do bad. It’s a spirit of competition that drives both of us. When you get a chance to start a game or come in off the bench and make some plays, that’s what Spring Training is about.

On throwing out former teammate Rod Barajas at second base…

“It was funny because he almost got thrown out at home (in the second inning) so he said something about being safe. I told him he had the wind at his back and that was the only reason why he was safe.

“(In the third inning) the guys ahead of him on the bases were all burners. I knew McCutcheon was going to be on third base, no problem and Rod was going to be dumptruckin’ around first base, so I was able to backdoor him and catch him sleeping a little bit. He had a nice comment for me when I got up there the next time.”

Sergio Santos (1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K):

“I felt good. I would have liked a little more control over my slider. I kind of found it at the end and was pleased with the changeups I threw. It was a good Day 1, good first inning, just getting everything back together in game-speed.”

“My main thing is to get a good feel for everything. Not necessarily the boxscore but just kind of how I’m feeling, how the pitches are coming out, if I’m getting better day by day. Once we get closer to the season, I’ll critique myself a little bit harder, knowing that I’ve got to be ready for the start of the season.”

Darren Oliver (1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K):

“It was good to get out there, man. It’d been so long. It was good to get out there and finally get some game action in, game speed.

Takes no negative stuff out of the inning…

“No, no. Even during the regular season I wouldn’t. There’s going to be times when you do well, and sometimes you don’t. That’s just how baseball goes.”

Pitch effectiveness…

“I don’t take too much into it like that. I was just trying to get out there and get some action in and get the first one out of the way. “

Even after all these years, it’s still kind of new in the first spring game?

“Oh yeah, especially when you don’t play for so long. It’s been four or five months. I’m sure it’s like that for everybody. I don’t think anybody’s going to be on point the first day of spring training. Nobody’s that good. You don’t want to peak too soon. (laughs)”

Casey Janssen (1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB):

“I had two quick outs and wanted to work on something, so it wasn’t the end of the world that the inning got extended a little bit … I had to work a little bit, which was nice.”

“Just get out there, get the heart rate up again and compete. And to throw up a zero is always nice.”

Francisco Cordero (1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB):

“I didn’t even throw a bullpen in the off-season, just long toss on flat ground. To come out today and throw one inning and throw strikes and have a quick inning, that was fun.”

Impressions of new bullpen…

“Coming in my first day of Spring Training, everybody made me feel like I was here before. Everybody welcomed me, they opened their arms and say hi and embraced me and just made me feel at home.

“When I said yes to the Blue Jays, I thought it was a good decision. Now that I’m here, for sure it was a good decision. It was the right decision to make. From the front office, the coaches, players, clubhouse guys, everyone has been really nice to me. I got no regrets.”

Excitement of first game…

“I was thinking about it since yesterday. What am I going to do tomorrow? How is it going to be? I hope it’s a good inning, quick inning, get out of there and call family and say, ‘I pitched my first spring training inning with the Blue Jays. It was fun. It was quick.’ And it was today. I know it’s early, but you want build something from the beginning and take that to the regular season and maybe play for a World Series, you never know.”

What’s it like not being the closer?

“I am a closer. I just got to close the eighth inning. I got to to a good job in the eighth inning so Sergio can do his job in the ninth. I think everyone in this group is a closer because you’ve got to get the seventh inning, the eighth inning and then the ninth inning.”

John Farrell:

So who’s in the lead for the starting spot in left field now?

“You know what, both guys are playing well, getting their hits. I thought Travis did an excellent job of running the bases today. Overall, I thought we took care of the baseball on defense and it was good to get a number of guys back to the mound. I thought Cordero was very sharp with the three pitches that he had. Casey picked up right where he was a year ago, crisp, clean. But still, we were able to manufacture some runs and took advantage of some defensive miscues.

Head to head competition bringing out the best in Snider and Thames?

“I’d hope so. We’d hope that as young, talented players continue to make their way to the big leagues, that internal competition is a healthy thing and I think that’s the case here.”

Have you seen a difference in Snider’s mechanics from a year ago?

“He’s made some adjustments, he’s lowered his hand set, he’s eliminated some of the wrap in his early approach to generating his swing and it has allowed him to stay through the baseball. I thought in his third at-bat he was a little late getting started but he has simplified his lower half and the movement that was giving him some issues a year ago. So, he’s doing a good job.”

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