The Toronto Blue Jays enter play on Friday night tied for the top Wild Card spot with the Baltimore Orioles after an uninspiring Thursday loss. It may not get any easier, either, with the Blue Jays scheduled to face both Rick Porcello and David Price in their final series against the Boston Red Sox this weekend.
With the spotlight locked in on Toronto’s recent struggles — the variety of which changes by the day — here are some news and stories that you might have missed from the past couple of days:
Montero suspended 50 games
Blue Jays triple-A 1B/DH Jesus Montero has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for dimethylbutylamine. The former top prospect enjoyed a strong season with the Buffalo Bisons, and while his power did not stand out, Montero did rank second in the International League in base hits. His suspension will begin at the start of next season.
Montero was also suspended in 2013 for his relationship with Biogenesis. Still just 26 years old, it remains possible that the Venezuelan will catch on with a team late next season.
Another front office hire
The Blue Jays have added former Boston Red Sox assistant scouting director Steve Sanders as their new amateur scouting director. This job opened when Brian Parker was let go in August. Sanders has a reputation in baseball circles as a (very) young, intelligent executive. Sanders joins former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, who recently joined the Blue Jays as vice president of baseball operations.
…And the accompanying shuffle
In Davidi’s report on these moves, he adds that Sheehan will oversee the analytics department and professional scouting department. This is his second promotion under the new regime of Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro. Minasian, on the other hand, moves up from his previous role of pro scouting director and “played a key role in identifying Jason Grilli as a trade target.”
Liriano’s surprising selection vs. Davis
For FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan wrote up an excellent breakdown of a key moment in Francisco Liriano’s most recent start. With the bases loaded, two strikes, and Chris Davis at the plate, Liriano does something he rarely does: he uncorked a curveball. Jump in on this analysis and what Liriano’s resurgence means for the Blue Jays.
Fun with Dioner
Dioner Navarro is a fan favourite for a reason, and its not his .350 batting average or 40-steal seasons. Sportsnet’s Kristina Rutherford recently sat down for this wonderful interview with the veteran catcher, touching on everything from hot dog preferences to Navarro’s pets. After Thursday night’s loss, let this be your reason for a brief morning smile.
All eyes on Cecil
With Joaquin Benoit injured, Joe Biagini coming back down to earth, and Jason Grilli struggling mightily, Brett Cecil has quickly become the most important member of the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen. TSN’s Scott MacArthur spoke with Cecil about his recent play, which you can find here. The left-hander has been used in a good deal of one and two-out situations recently, but could be called upon for full, high-leverage innings when it counts most.