Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Litsch receives good news from Dr. Andrews

For once, there is some good news for a member of the Blue Jays starting staff. After Jesse Litsch went to the disabled list with forearm tightness April 14th, he was expected to miss about a month. However, a precautionary visit Monday with Dr. James Andrews raised eyebrows that this could be a more serious injury. Usually, a visit to Andrews is the last thing a pitcher wants to have, but in this case, Litsch was told he had no structural damage and that he could resume tossing sessions.

The Jays hurler will likely throw off flat ground for a few weeks and then pitch on the mound before getting into simulated contests. The team is optimistic for a mid-May return for the former 13 game winner.

In two starts this season, Litsch has posted a record of 0-1 with an ERA of 9.00

John McDonald: The Forgotten Man in '09

John McDonald is quite possibly the most popular Toronto Blue Jay amongst fans. On opening night when he was introduced, he received a raucous cheer, rivaled only by Roy Halladay. The slick infielder has been a defensive wizard, patrolling the infield for 5 seasons with the Jays, but has become a forgotten man in Toronto's early success in 2009.

This year, McDonald has not cracked the starting lineup even once, mainly being used as a defensive replacement in blowouts and occasionally as a pinch runner. The team would like to get him into games, but with the incumbent shortstop Marco Scutaro having such a great start, McDonald has ridden the pine.

The issue behind Johnny Mac's lack of playing time is his career .236 batting average, including a paltry .210 in 08. With the club swinging the bats so well, offense is not a concern, so McDonald should be getting starts despite his weak bat. The foremost reason why he's not starting is the fact Toronto would have no lead off hitter in the absence of Scutaro. It's already a stretch to have Marco at the top of the order, so if McDonald started in place of the incumbent, who would be the guy? McDonald has a career .275 on base percentage, so he's not a good fit there.

In the absence of a prototypical lead off guy, the Blue Jays human highlight reel has become a forgotten man.

What a shame.

Purcey lit up as Jays lose series opener to KC

At some point David Purcey will harness his considerable talent and start dominating ball games. Unfortunately for a depleted Jays pitching staff, he continues to scuffle in April after a brilliant spring.

Purcey's struggles continued Monday night in Kansas City, matching a career high with 3 long balls surrendered. In 5 innings, the American League's worst offense teed off on Purcey to the tune of 8 hits and 6 earned runs, in a game the Jays wound up losing 7-1.

In five starts this season, Purcey has allowed 20 runs in just over 25 innings, issuing 18 free passes. Oddly to the contrary, his strikeout ratio is top 5 in the American League, averaging a strikeout per inning, so it's obvious he does have the ability to be a power pitcher. It remains to be seen when he'll "find it."

If he continues to go in a downward spiral, the Jays should move him down in the rotation, and perhaps have him switch spots with the suddenly surging Brian Tallet.

Purcey has major league stuff. We just have to be patient. It's not like Toronto didn't expect road bumps from the starting rotation.