Lyon and Happ report to Blue Jays

The Blue Jays bullpen added a couple of healthy arms on Saturday when right-hander Brandon Lyon and left-hander J.A. Happ arrived following Friday’s 10-player deal with Houston. The timing couldn’t be any better considering Toronto lost yet another arm when Jason Frasor when placed on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his right forearm.

Toronto now has nine pitchers on the disabled list in a season that seems to have more injury news with every passing week. The Blue Jays aren’t alone in their injury woes as many other clubs around Major League Baseball are suffering from similar fates but I personally haven’t seen anything quite like this.

Here’s what Lyon and Happ had to say about joing the Blue Jays…

Brandon Lyon:

Back to where it all began…

“It’s exciting. I’m excited to be back here. I see a lot of familiar faces around here. I’m just excited to be part of this organization again and be out here to try and win games and help them.”

On the injuries…

“I’m here to do whatever I can to help this team win in any situation. Any time they call down and put me in I’m going to go out there and do what I do, throw strikes and put the pressure on hitters and let the defense help me as much as I can.”

Houston rebuilding mode so this probably didn’t come as a total shock…

“I think all of us, all of the veterans, all of the people around there heard the rumors or heard a lot of the talk about rebuilding for the future. They kind of wanted to see how this year played out. It didn’t really come as a shock that I got traded. Maybe the timing of it, the reality of it, when you get the phone call but I had a great time there. The organization gave me a great opportunity to go there and I spent almost three seasons there so it definitely has a place in my heart but it’s time to move on and do what I can here to help this team.”

Easier to go back to a place you’ve been…

“I think so. It makes it easier for me. Obviously feeling for Jay right now, I don’t think he knows many people around here. At least I can come in here, I can see a few faces that I’ve seen in the past and it does make it a little bit easier but any time you have to switch teams and go through the whole meeting new teammates. It’s uncomfortable for a few days but once the game starts, you’re playing baseball, you might just have a different uniform on. It will be a lot easier once the game starts for everybody in this situation go just go out there and do what you can to help the team get some outs and help the team win a baseball game.”

What can be expected of J.A….

“I haven’t seen Jay pitch out of the bullpen, I’ve seen him as a starter since I’ve been with him in Houston. He definitely has great stuff. He commands the zone really well, has a great breaking ball and he’s an aggressive pitcher. He throws strikes out there and is really great at what he does. It will be interesting to see him come out of the ‘pen maybe with a little bit of an extra gear coming out of there. Maybe a tick or two higher on the velocity gun but we’ll see. I’m excited to see that happen to see what he can do for this team too.”

How different are you compared to your first go-around with the Blue Jays…

“Very different. I’ve developed, where back then you get into some situations as a youngster and you don’t really know how to get out of them and you try too hard. I’ve learned from those situations and what to expect. I’ve been in almost every situation I’d have to say, coming out of the bullpen, tied games, down runs, big situations bases loaded. You just refer back to that memory bank and try to focus on every situation what you think you need to do to get out of it.”

Anyone talked about your role…

“No. I haven’t really sat down with them, I just barely got here about half an hour ago. I met John, I haven’t met Alex yet. I’m excited to meet everybody. New faces and a new team. I’m excited to get going.”

Getting into a playoff race…

“It has been a little while since we’ve kind of been in a situation like this. So I’m excited, I’m excited to get out there and obviously see what I can do and get that adrenaline flow. It’s a little bit different of an adrenaline flow when you have the game on the line in situations where teams are just trying to get a win. I’m excited for it, I can’t wait to get out there.”

Being in AL East…

“It’s prime time out here. The time, obviously everybody on the West Coast gets to see the games, nobody on the East Coast gets to see the West Coast games. I’m just excited, you see a lot of the publicity because of the time zones and the teams that are in the AL East. It’s live and die by every pitch here at Fenway. I’m excited to be here in this atmosphere, especially coming from a team that’s in a rebuilding stage and being able to get back into this division.”

What’s your repertoire now…

“Same things I did before. Instead of a slider that I had as a starter, I use more of a cutter now. Still fastball, curveball, changeup, cutter. Same things, just use them in different situations. As a starter I was more of a sinker baller and trying to get groundballs. Now I use my cutter and curveball quite a bit. I’m more of a fly ball pitcher than I used to be the last time I was here. My mentality is the same, go out and throw strikes and put pressure on the hitters.”

J.A. Happ:

Surprised?

“It did come as a surprise. I had no idea. But it’s always nice to go to a place that wants you, so I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Role?

“I’m not sure. I think it’s a kind of play-it-by-ear type of thing. I know I’m going to be in the bullpen to start and we’ll kind of see where it goes from there. But hopefully I can contribute.”

Organization?

“He said he really liked his time here. I know it was a little while ago, at the beginning of his career, but I’ve heard a lot of guys who played in Toronto say they liked it. I’m sure it’s going to be an adjustment, but, just take it as it comes.”

Prefer rotation?

“Yeah, that’s what I’m most comfortable with. It’s what I’ve done most. I don’t want to make any waves, cause any waves, but that’s where I see myself being and hopefully they do too at some point.”

Pitcher?

“I’m just a guy, like a lot of guys, who tries to get ahead and I’m most effective when I get ahead in the count and try to pound the strike zone, so that’s kind of goal number one for me when I go out there.”

Repertoire?

“I throw some two-seamers. Fastball, curveball, little cut-slider and changeup.”
– “go-to” pitch might be cutter, “Depends on the day, I guess.”

Alex interested?

“I definitely hope so [see something in you]. Like I said, I was not expecting it, but again to have someone want you and go try to get you is a good thing.”

Bullpen experience?

“I’m going to try and I know we’ve got some guys in the bullpen here that have done it for a while so I’ll rely on them a little bit. In ’09 I relieved a little bit in the postseason and in ’08 I relieved a little bit also. Try to use that if I can.”

Rebuilding to now in the thick of it?

“I think it’s going to be fun. I certainly hope so. It can get a little bit overwhelming losing on a consistent basis, so I think it’s going to be a good opportunity.”

How has this year gone for you?

“I feel like I kept us in a lot of ballgames. I had a few ballgames that weren’t so pretty and numbers-wise kind of hurt a little bit. But other than that I feel like I was keeping us in the ballgame a lot.”

Now vs. Philly?

“I like to think I’m similar. My mechanics may have changed a little bit, but that’s kind of the guy that I want to be. The more that I can be like that, the better.”

Mechanical changes?

“Just kind of toned it down a little bit. Maybe not quite as high of a leg-kick. It’s a constant thing of trying to change stuff and tweak things a little bit. Especially over the last two years, I’ve been trying to get it where I can be consistently repeating my delivery. I think I’m in a place where I feel good with it, where I can consistently throw strikes.”

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