AL East Round Up: Happy Returns Edition

shdoyle
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Toronto Blue Jays

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ugh. There aren’t as many “happy” returns for the Blue Jays as the title of this post would suggest. Jose Bautista made his return to Pittsburgh, Brett Lawrie returned to 2nd base, Brandon Morrow returned to the DL and the Blue Jays returned to last place in the AL East. Like I said, ugh.

After being traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jose Bautista became the face of the Blue Jays, led the world in homeruns for two seasons and generally became one of the most feared hitters in baseball. Given that the Pirates essentially gave up on him, I was interested in seeing if Bautista would return with a chip on his shoulder. In the first two games, he has 4 hits including a double and a homerun. Check it out. I like when Bautista plays with a bit of a chip. His focus just appears more intense, more determined.

Playing in a National League park, John Gibbons moved Brett Lawrie to 2nd base. Lawire played 2nd in the minor leagues. He also made 6 starts there last year. Considering Lawrie’s pure athleticism, I am convinced he can play anywhere. I have already said he’ll win a Gold Glove at third this year. Here’s how he did.

Yesterday, I posted that Brandon Morrow was heading to the DL. Early reports were not as detailed as they are now. Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com tells us that Morrow will be out for about 2 months (!) dealing with a torn tendon sheath in his right index finger. The “best case” scenario is that Morrow comes back in July. The “worst case” is that he needs surgery and will miss the rest of the season. This news will not come as a surprise to anyone. Having said that, it does not soften the frustration of Blue Jays fans. The ‘Fabrege Pitcher’ (expensive, valuable arm, easily broken) has not pitched a full season (at least 30 starts) since 2011. Like I said, ugh.

The story of the bullpen’s seeming inability to hold a lead has been discussed on Twitter and other outlets so much that I’m not going to outline it here. I will point out that all of the above has resulted in a not so happy return to last place for the Blue Jays. Fans shouldn’t get too far out on that ledge yet. The Jays are only 3.5 games out of first place. That number is not so large that it can’t be made up in 5 months. There are 4 other teams they need to leap from, though. Perhaps this 3.5 game deficit seems so bleak because of the way the games have slipped away. It can be demoralizing. A good month of May will help.

Fans can look forward to the much anticipated call up of Marcus Stroman. I know I am!

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