Blue Jays to be cautious with Stroman and Sanchez's workload

By: Bob Elliott

Canadian Baseball Network

STARTING HELP: When the Blue Jays where on an innings-conservation kick last season they would bring up a starter from triple-A Buffalo and push the other starters back a day. They were worried about Marco Estrada’s escalating innings total and Mark Buehrle’s decreased velocity.

Now, as they fret about the innings total of both Marcus Stroman, who has never pitched more than 166 1/3 innings and Alex Sanchez, never more 133, manager John Gibbons told reporters Wednesday that the Jays have discussed going to the same option this season.

“There’s a couple of guys you want to be cautious with a little, it might help more to give those guys a break when we can,” Gibbons said.

Last year the Jays used Scott Copeland for three starts, Matt Boyd for two and long reliever Todd Redmond for one start.

“That’s probably what we’ll end up doing,” Gibbons said.

And the first man into the pool is Drew Hutchison, who made 28 starts, went 13-5 despite a 5.57 ERA, pitched 150 1/3 innings and didn’t crack the rotation this spring. Hutchison is 0-1 with a 4.11 ERA for the Buffalo Bisons. He has walked six and struck out 20 in 15 1/3 innings.

The Jays rotation of Marcus Stroman (28 1/3 innings in four starts), Sanchez (20 inning in three starts), J.A. Happ (19 innings in three), Marco Estrada (13 innings in two starts) and R.A. Dickey (14 2/3 in three innings) heading into Wednesday night’s game at Camden Yards.

The Jays rotations leads the major with 95 innings heading into Wednesday play. In second, are the famed Chicago Cubs (92 2/3), followed by the Philadelphia (88 1/3), Washington Nationals (86 1/3), San Francisco Giants (86) and Los Angeles Dodgers (84 1/3).

Gibbons said he viewed former Chicago White Sox starter Gavin Floyd as a 1-to-3 inning arm.

CANUCKS BEAT JAYS: Toronto’s Andrew Yerzy, Mississauga’s Cooper Davis and Clayton Keyes of Calgary each homered for the Canadian Junior National Team in a 9-4 win over the Blue Jays extended spring squad 9-4 at the Bobby Mattick Complex Wednesday afternoon. Keyes hit a three run drive which cleared the batter’s eye in centre. Mississauga’s Jordan Balazovic worked four scoreless, hitless innings and was followed up by Georgetown’s Ben Abram, who put up three zeros. The Jays scored four times in the ninth, three on a home run by Burlington’s Mattingly Romanin facing Montreal’s William Sierra. 

Toronto’s Dondrae Bremner had two hits as did Mississauga’s Noah Naylor and Yerzy as the Canucks outhit the Jays 14-8.

NOT BACK YET: Jesse Chavez experienced back problems Tuesday night in the bullpen and was likely not available for the second game of the series. 

DIPPING: Rogers Communications Inc. posted a 3% drop in first-quarter profit to $248-million, or 48 cents a share, in the first three months of the year, compared with $255-million in the same period the previous year.

TIMING: A number of Blue Jays were hooting at their third base coach Luis Rivera, who spent the final session of the Orioles batting practice chatting with Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. The Jays have had some hard feelings over the years with Baltimore as Jose Bautista knocked down a few times and while Josh Donaldson was with the Oakland A’s, he and third baseman Manny Machado got into an on-field argument.

NUMBERS: Bautista has reached base safely in all 14 games this season heading into Wednesday’s game with his .453 on-base mark tops in the majors. His on-base mark with two strikes this season is .410. Going back to last year he’s reached 28 consecutive games including post season with a .450 on-base mark and a 1.078 OPS. His streak is the longest in the majors ... The Jays are hitting .230 on the road this season which is 12th in the AL ... Roberto Osuna has now converted 25 of 28 save opportunities.