By Bob Elliott
CLEARWATER -- Roy Halladay is expected to be back in a Blue Jays uniform next Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Field.
Halladay, the Jays say, will represent the club during celebration of life ceremonies for the late Jim Fregosi before the Philadelphia Phillies host the Atlanta Braves.
Fregosi, who managed the Blue Jays to winning seasons in 1999 and 2000, died Feb. 14 of a stroke in Miami. Halladay made 55 appearances under Fregosi, including 31 starts.
During his pro career, which began in 1960, Fregosi played for the California Angels, New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He managed the Angels, the Chicago White Sox and the Jays, while serving as an executive with the San Francisco Giants and the Braves, where he had worked for the past 12 seasons.
Each of the nine clubs who employed him is expected to have a representative in uniform and most teams will have a representative.
Milwaukee Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, the former Jays GM who hired Fregosi to replace Tim Johnson in the spring of 1999, will fly in from Phoenix to pay tribute.
HELLO JOE: Joe Siddall’s last game in a major-league uniform was Sept. 26, 1998 at the SkyDome.
The Detroit Tigers catcher caught all 13 innings as the Blue Jays won on a Shannon Stewart single. Siddall was hitless in four trips with a walk facing Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens, plus relievers Paul Quantrill, Carlos Almanzar and Bill Risley.
Siddall’s first game in the broadcast booth as Jerry Howarth’s left-hand man was Wednesday, as the Jays met the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field when the grapefruit is squeezed for the first time.
Siddall’s debut does not mean he’s replacing Jack Morris in the Jays broadcast booth, but he’s been given the first 2 1/2 weeks of the spring which gives him a leg up on anyone else.
Additional broadcasters are expected to audition the second half of the spring.
The Fan 590’s Don Kollins talked with former New York Yankee reliever Jeff Nelson and C.J. Nitkowski, who pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, the Tigers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees and Washington Nationals and is now an MLB.com analyst.
Both were not thrilled with the prospects of a commitment to a 162-game schedule.
Windsor born and bred, Siddall has been active in the game, throwing batting practice to Tigers hitters and coaching his children. His son Kevin, 14, tragically lost his courageous battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last month. His older son, Brett, is in his second year with the Canisius College Griffins in Buffalo.
Siddall caught 13 seasons in the minors, retiring after the 2000 season at triple-A Pawtucket. He appeared in 73 games in the majors with the Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers.
Along with lefty Denis Boucher of Lachine, Que., Siddall formed the eighth ever all-Canadian battery in major-league history on Sept. 6, 1993. Boucher pitched six innings allowing one run, Siddall doubled in a run, and Larry Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C. homered in a 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies in front of 40,0666 fans.
Our David Matchett captured the 20th anniversary with a three-part piece last fall.
DON'T TAKE THE STAIRS: Matt Stairs said he turned down the job of Blue Jays broadcaster to replace Jack Morris this winter.
Preferring not to work the full 162-game schedule, Stairs took a job on Philadelphia Phillies TV. He’ll do 108 games there with lefty Jamie Moyer.
Morris returned home to broadcast the Twins games after Ron Coomer left for a job with the Chicago Cubs.
The Fan 590 then asked Windsor’s Siddall, the former major-league catcher, to audition Wednesday in Clearwater -- to rave reviews. He’ll do the first 2 1/2 weeks and after that Don Kollins is undecided of his next step.
Siddall lost his 14-year-old son Kevin to cancer earlier this month. And the Phillies pitcher to throw the final pitch of Siddall’s first game? Kevin Munson.
OVER AND UNDER Mr. UNDER: There was a time last off season when Vegas loved the Blue Jays.
Oddsmakers made the Jays the odds-on favorite to win the 2013 World Series after the R.A. Dickey trade.
This season? Not so much. The over-under for the Jays this season in 79 1/2 wins, according to Bodog Sports. The Jays have not won more than 81 games since 2010 (85-77) under manager Cito Gaston.
Regular Season Win Totals (projected)
Dodgers 92.5 Cardinals 90.5 Tigers 89.5 A’s 88.5 Rays 88.5 Nationals 88.5 Braves 87.5 Red Sox 87.5 Angels 86.5 Yankees 86.5 Giants 86.5 Rangers 86.5 Reds 84.5 Pirates 83.5 Royals 81.5 Mariners 81.5 Diamondbacks 80.5 Orioles 80.5 Indians 80.5 Brewers 79.5 Blue Jays 79.5 Padres 78.5 Rockies 76.5 Phillies 76.5 White Sox 75.5 Mets 73.5 Twins 70.5 Cubs 69.5 Marlins 69.5 Astros 62.5