Monday, March 15, 2010

Dana Eveland making impression at Jays camp

Perhaps the most unheralded acquisition in Alex Anthopoulos' first off season as Jays General Manager was prying pitcher Dana Eveland away from the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations. The way the 26 year old lefty has pitched in spring training, it's easy to see why Anthopoulos was so high on the southpaw in the first place.

Eveland, locked in a battle for either a rotation spot or a job in a crowded bullpen, has surrendered no earned runs in eight innings of work over the course of three appearances, striking out six. After posting a respectable 9-9 record in 29 starts two seasons ago, Eveland fell out of favour with the A's in '09 after yielding an ugly 7.40 ERA in his first six appearances of the campaign. He didn't fare a whole lot better in the minors with an ERA just shy of 5.00 in 21 starts.

Though it is unlikely at this point he'd make the Blue Birds starting rotation, he could be a valuable long reliever and spot starter. Toronto must think long and hard about keeping him with the team, however, because Eveland is out of options and he'd need to clear waivers before being sent down to AAA Las Vegas. Given his past success at the major league level and the fact it only took cash to acquire him from the A's, this could wind up being one savvy move by the Blue Jays rookie General Manager.

Joey Gathright seeks roster spot

Joey Gathright is known for his blazing fast speed on the base paths and in the outfield. The Blue Jays are in short supply of both, so the six year veteran of four major league teams is in the running for a roster spot. Gathright is being given every opportunity to make the team as either a fourth outfielder, or, if Travis Snider struggles in the spring, a chance to start every day in left field. He'd bring versatility to the club also, being able to hit lead-off on days that Jose Bautista is off and could spell Vernon Wells in center field.

Why am I posting about Gathright's chances of making the team despite him playing almost all of '09 in the minors? Basically it's just an excuse to show off his mad skills of jumping over cars!

By all accounts having Gathright on the team would be great for no other reason than to use him as a pinch runner because the Jays grossly miscast slick fielding John McDonald in that role last season. However, the 28 year old hasn't taken exactly taken advantage of his opportunity to head north with the big club to start the year, recording just 3 hits in 20 at bats with only one stolen base in the spring. Maybe he doesn't need to have a good camp. After all, he just needs to show G.M. Alex Anthopoulos and manager Cito Gaston that video. Then he'd make the team.