By: Jay Blue
Blue Jays From Away
I look out the window and see nothing but snow and ickiness. But in Florida, it’s a different story as the “spring” is more than half done and, WBC notwithstanding, the Toronto Blue Jays are starting to whittle down their roster towards their 25-man club that will start the season for the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays have announced (h/t to J. Scott Butherus) that Jarrett Grube, Dwight Smith, Jr. and Dan Jansen have been reassigned to the minor league camp while Ryan Borucki and Chris Smith were both optioned to the minor leagues. None of these moves are a surprise as the big league club is now using its projected regulars much more, leaving fewer opportunities for the younger or fringier players.
Smith acquitted himself well this spring despite a .200 average. Smith got the job done, driving in six runs for the Blue Jays in Grapefruit League games, which ties him for first on the club with Jose Bautista. Smith also scored three times, stole a base and hit a double. Jansen played in six games, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, getting his feet a little wetter after just one spring at bat last year. I expect Jansen to start in Dunedin while Smith could start in New Hampshire or Buffalo.
Of the pitchers, people were talking about Chris Smith having the best chance to break camp with the big league club. Smith got into five games, throwing 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) with four walks and five strikeouts. He was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Borucki was another name that was bandied about in the Grapefruit League. The lefty made a big impression, tossing four innings and giving up two runs (one earned), walking two and striking out three. This is a big turnaround for Borucki who was shelled in the start I saw from him in minor league spring training last year and looked good this March.
Borucki was optioned to Advanced-A Dunedin. I had predicted that he’d start the season in Double-A New Hampshire and that still isn’t out of the question, but looking less likely with the optional assignment. Borucki has been a starter in the minors and will need to be stretched out in the coming weeks.
Jarret Grube gave up three runs in five innings this spring but his five strikeouts-to-one-walk ratio is pretty encouraging. He was reassigned to the minors and is expected to break camp with Buffalo.