* Omar Vizquel and Robbie Alomar, a double play combination with the Cleveland Indians, should be together again forming a Cooperstown Hall of Fame DP. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in Minors … Canadians in college summer ball …. Canadians in College …. MLB Scouting Bureau camps
By Bob Elliott
Omar Vizquel’s numbers his 24th and final season in the majors looked like this:
In 60 games with the Blue Jays -- 37 starts 18 at second base, 10 at third and nine at shortstop -- he had 36 hits, seven RBIs and a .235 average in 2012 under first year manager John Farrell.
“I thought I was going to play a little more,” said Vizquel, now a coach with the Detroit Tigers.
Looking back he admits the Jays 74-win season was a roller coaster ride.
“Some days I was sad ... that it was my last year playing,” Vizquel said. “Other days I was happy that it was my last year and some days I thought I was going to get released. It was a respect thing that the Jays had for myself and for my career ... I think that’s why they didn’t release me.”
Vizquel said he played pain free in 2012, but was unsure Farrell knew what to do with him.
“Does he put me in when we are losing or winning 10-0? Does he only play me to rest other guys,” asked Vizquel.
Admitting he had his differences with Farrell, Vizquel clarified this spring’s story that he had flown the family of Jays right-hander Henderson Alvarez’s from Venezuela to Miami to see him pitch and then complained to the manager when Farrell bumped Alvarez’s start from Sunday in Miami to Monday at Fenway Park.
“I didn’t pay for the flight, they came on their own,” Vizquel said. “Once Alvarez found out he wasn’t starting he asked me to speak to Farrell. He was just learning English so I was the bridge between the manager and Alvarez. If they wanted something they’d come me to tell Alvarez.”
And the road from Alvarez’s locker to the manager’s office went through Vizquel’s locker.
Farrell told Vizquel that there would not be any changes as the rotation for Boston was “already set.”
In 2011 we asked Vizquel, then a member of the Chicago White Sox his opinion of Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar. Vizquel said Escobar was “getting too big and would soon be a third baseman.”
When Vizquel showed in the spring of 2012 in Dunedin we asked him what he thought of Escobar, now no longer a competitor, but a teammate three lockers down.
“He’s getting too big to play shortstop, soon he’ll be at third.”
In the field Vizquel handled 164 chances making three errors and also made a fine back-handed play on a ceremonial first-pitch in the dirt -- keeping it from going to the back stop -- we recall quite vividly.
The other day Vizquel saw us in the visiting clubhouse at Rogers Centre asking “I thought you would retired by now.”
Nope, am going out like Harry Kalas, the Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster.
When we came back from Barry Larkin’s induction ceremony we told Vizquel about the former Cincinnati Reds shortstop turning around during his speech and saying to Robbie Alomar “I’ve always wanted to play with you Robbie ... now I’m your double play partner.”
Larkin and Alomar can turn two on the mythical HOF team ... until 2018.
That’s when the acrobatic Vizquel is eligible. He has my vote.
Complaint dept: Why is a defensive shift like the weather? Everyone complains but no one ever does anything about it. Except for Colby Rasmus that is. He bunted down the third base line for an infield hit on Friday. Next time up defenders were at their normal positions. And Rasmus was not admonished this time as he was when he bunted up 2-0 against Texas Rangers’ Colby Lewis, author of the think piece Bunting Against the Shift? Legal or Not? ... Some wise acre approached the batting cage Friday and asked three Jays in uniforms “could you point out the new guys who arrived at the deadline please” Two laughed, one stomped off ... Rogers Communications might prove us wrong about not giving general manager Alex Anthopoulos any cash to add at the deadline and the Jays could add a $10 million contract next week, Might it be a tad too late ... There are fewer scouts at the Rogers Centre this summer even when the Jays are contending. The reason? “You think I’m coming in to drive in that traffic, I’ll catch them on the road,” said one scout. “If I want to drive in New York traffic I’ll go to New York.” ... When you are down to your last three outs and down a run as the Jays were Saturday, you should not need to go to New York to get an safe call. The risk is not worth the reward ... How about when announcers say “time of game brought to you by ...” and name a sponsor? Time of game is brought to you -- usually by the starting pitcher.
Jays droppings: Next to Orlando Hudson and Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar, name the last Jays second baseman as quick, as smooth at turning a double play as Ryan Goins? ... Casey Janssen was working his third consecutive day on Friday when the Tiger bats exploded. Could the Jays have used another bullpen arm at the deadline -- assuming Rogers gave approval ... Remember when the Blue Jays trio of John Olerud, Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar finished 1-2-3 in the AL batting race in 1993? The Texas Rangers are trying to duplicate that but in the caught-stealing race. Elvis Andrus leads with 12, followed by Leonys Martin and Alex Rios with nine. Rios went through waivers unclaimed. He has gone 84 at-bats without a homer and has only four homers and 45 RBIs in 420 at-bats overall, heading into Saturday.
From the booth: Say you grew up half an hour from Tiger Stadium, say you lived your dream playing 29 games for the Detroit Tigers and then you pitched batting practice for the Tigers. And now if your name is the Windsor-born Joe Siddall you had to broadcast your favorite team playing the team you work for from the Jays broadcast booth. How tough would that be? All reports were Siddall passed with flying colors, as he has since his first day in the booth that March day in Clearwater ... Last Tuesday in Cooperstown we saw a grandfather take a picture of his grandson in front of Tom Cheek’s picture as the 2012 Ford C. Frick winner. He told Cheek stories and as they walked away the grandpa said “and in a few years there will be a picture there of Tom’s partner Jerry Howarth on that wall too.”
Hey bar tender: Visiting scouts continue to marvel at the drinking ability of Jays fans. Like the guy on Thursday night who was asked to leave and refused. Ushers turned the matter over to the police they lifted him out of his seat and carried him up the aisle ... upside down.
Buck’s boys: In 2012 the Baltimore Orioles were 29-9 in one-run games, 16-2 in extras. It was an anomaly. Last year they were 20-31 in one-run games. Well, Buck Showalter’s team is back winning the close ones. They have the most wins in one-run games in the AL at 24-17 and are 12-4 in extras. O’s boss Dan Duquette obtained Andrew Miller at the deadline from the Boston Red Sox and Miller has not allowed a hit in four games.
Who’s in centre: When you thought Minnesota Twins and centre field you thought of Kirby Puckett (1984-95) Torii Hunter (1997-2007) and Carlos Gomez (2008-09). Denard Span, Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks and Byron Buxton were all in the organization at the same time. Now, they are forced to make waiver claims: former Atlanta Brave Jordan Schafer last month and Sam Fuld in April. Fuld was shipped to Oakland lefty Tommy Milone. Schafer was the seventh player to man centre. And Darin Mastroianni was lost on waivers to the Jays.