Camp Report: Jays Concerned About Chacin
There's concern in the Blue Jays camp about pitcher Gustavo Chacin. There's nothing wrong with his prized left arm. It's just that Chacin hasn't seen much in the way of action while participating in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela.
Chacin was originally slotted as one of Venezuela's starters, but instead he was bumped to the bullpen to make way for Kelvim Escobar and has pitched just one inning in the opening three games of the WBC.
"He's getting his work in on the side, but if he doesn't throw against hitters it could put him behind the eight-ball if Venezuela moves on in the tournament," Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We really don't know how far along he is, and if he doesn't get his starts in, he might not have enough time left (when the WBC is over) to catch up.
"If that's the case we'd just hope that he'd be able to go five or six innings by the time the season starts, and then he'd start out as the fifth guy in our rotation."
The Jays rotation is topped by Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett, with the slotting of Chacin, Ted Lilly and Josh Towers yet to be determined.
As it turns out, Venezuela might make that decision for them.
NEWS AND QUOTES
--Spring training is not a one-way street for hitting coach Mickey Brantley. The learning process flows both ways.
With the arrival of newcomers Troy Glaus, Bengie Molina and Lyle Overbay, Brantley has to do a quick study of their mechanics and their habits. However, dealing with established all-stars such as Molina and Glaus is a lot different than working with up-and-coming minor-leaguers.
"With the new guys, I've got to get to know them," Brantley said. "I have to know their swings and their keys.
"It's not like I'm going to revamp them or anything like that. They've got a specific swing and used it for a long period of time. I've just got to learn it so when they get into trouble I'll know how to fix it."
--RHP Roy Halladay turned in another impressive performance Sunday against the Tigers, allowing two hits over four scoreless innings while striking out six.
Halladay was just as pleased with the relationship he's developing with his new catcher, Bengie Molina.
"Today was a lot better," Halladay said. "It's good to get a couple of innings and then to come in and talk it over between innings and to go back out and make an adjustment or two.
"I'm real happy. He's got a lot of good ideas. He did a good job calling the game, and for the most part we're real close."
Like all catchers, Molina has his ideas pitch to pitch, and in some cases Halladay is finding it refreshing.
"We talked about a few things that we may do a little bit different, but I'm pretty happy with where we are," he said. "He's got a real good idea. He likes doing some different things -- changeups to righties on the opposite side (outside). He likes doubling up on curveballs, which is something I've done a lot and enjoy doing. It's just as much fun for me as it for him, I'm sure."
--RHP Justin Speier, who has missed time because of a ligament injury to the middle finger of his right hand, threw a second bullpen session Saturday, will throw a simulated game Tuesday and will get in his first spring training game Friday against Cincinnati.
--LF Reed Johnson, who has been on the shelf with a sore right elbow, stretched his throwing out to 90 feet.
"I'm waiting for it to hurt when I throw, but so far it hasn't," Johnson said.
Johnson is hopeful that he can take part in a spring training game in five or six days. He'd like to participate in some minor league games as a DH first to get some at-bats.
"We're making progress," he said.
--C Gregg Zaun, who has been out of action since he suffered a tight calf muscle in a game Wednesday vs. Houston, will return to duty Monday.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Eric Hinske's home run total, which leads the Blue Jays after their opening 10 spring training games.
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