Daily Duce: Monday, May 29th


Jason Grilli was hitting 94 on the radar gun on Sunday, writes Jeff Blair of Sportsnet — which, along with a tighter slider than we’ve seen lately, caught the attention of John Gibbons. Intriguing development, but not one I’m going to worry about too much just yet. Blair also wonders if J.P. Howell might be the pitcher on his way out (or to the DL with left arm shittiness) once J.A. Happ returns, as he’s been useless in his own right. Even more intriguing: Blair says the Jays have considered keeping Joe Biagini in the rotation and shifting Francisco Liriano to the bullpen once Aaron Sanchez comes back. Certainly not the worst idea in the world, if Liriano is up for it.

Dalton Pompey will begin a rehab assignment this week in Dunedin, but Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun writes that, unfortunately for him, he’ll be returning to a world where he’s no longer the only outfield prospect the Jays could possibly turn to.

Outside of the paywall at the Athletic, our friend John Lott had a good chat over the weekend with the Rangers’ Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who spent many years in the Blue Jays’ farm system, and made his debut this season, at age 32.

Elsewhere at the Athletic, Israel Fehr gives us some takeaways from the Jays’ series win against the piss-soaked Rangers over the weekend — and also looks at the imminent return of J.A. Happ, which is something our very own Cam Lewis touched on in his preview of the Jays and Reds. Despite some concerns last week about another Matt Latos appearance, it seems the Jays are going to finally be getting their 20 game winner back on Tuesday.

Elsewhere still at the Athletic, in case you missed it (because I was in transit and didn’t end up posting it over here), I wrote a piece looking at Kendrys Morales and what the early returns on his contract have been.

Speaking of pitchers getting healthy (weren’t we?), Francisco Liriano pitched last night for the Buffalo Bisons, and spoke to the media afterwards. The Bisons tweeted a video of the scrum, in which Liriano says that he felt great, and it certainly seems like he’s on track to rejoin the club on Friday. Liriano pitched 4.1, allowing three runs (two earned) on just three hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts. That’ll do.

Shi Davidi of Sportsnet writes about Joe Biagini’s start on Sunday, and the fact that it was ol’ weird Joe that opened up the possibility of giving the ball to Happ on Tuesday, because of the fact that he went six innings, and so didn’t require a parade of relievers to come in behind him. Marcus Stroman pitches tonight for the Jays, and unless the bullpen gets depleted behind him (which would be an issue for Tuesday, with Happ still on a limited pitch count), it seems pretty clear we’re going to see J.A. (UPDATE: John Gibbons has, in fact, confirmed it.)

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at the transformation of Ryan Tepera — who hasn’t been scored on in a month, and how confidence (and first-pitch strikes) have played a big role in his success.

Over at BP Toronto, Elie Waitzer does some wishcasting and imagines the ridiculously athletic outfield of the Blue Jays’ future. Meanwhile, Mike Passador looks at how the Jays have started gaining confidence in their group of middle relievers.

José Bautista hasn’t been on the DL like some of his teammates, but nonetheless he’s spent a whole bunch of this season so far looking lost. No longer, say Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, as he looks at Bautista’s turnaround.

Elsewhere in the Star, Laura Armstrong looks at Chris Coghlan, who John Gibbons calls “a natural outfielder.” He… uh… probably isn’t that. But after kinda wearing out his welcome on the infield, Coghlan has found yet another place he can at the very least be a stopgap for the Jays. Coghlan starts tonight in left, in fact!

Jays Droppings and South of the Six team up to “hijack” a recent edition of Mike Wilner’s JaysTalk. If this is anyone but Steve Allen, you’re stealing my bit.

Speaking of South of the Six, Adam Corsair writes thoughtfully about the corner turned. Which, y’know, the Jays have hopefully actually done!

Alexis Brudnicki of the Canadian Baseball Network has a great one, talking in-depth to Rowdy Tellez about his now infamous note taking — something that didn’t just begin during his Spring Training dinner with Troy Tulowitzki. Tellez, it should be noted, has made big strides toward turning his season around this month, after a rough start in April.

Alexis also travelled to Manchester, New Hampshire, and spoke with prospect Sean Reid-Foley. Another great one!

And elsewhere still at the Canadian Baseball Network, Danny Gallagher looks at the Jays’ strong ticket sales so far — something the club… isn’t commenting on?

Speaking of Canadians, we’re getting a visit from Joey Votto! Which is, of course, slightly terrifying, despite it also being kinda cool, because Joey Votto is stupidly good. Votto has “simply stopped striking out” says Jeff Sullivan’s latest for FanGraphs, which… uh… maybe he can make an exception this week. But somehow I doubt he will.

Over at Fan Rag, Bernie Pleskoff gives us a scouting report on the Jays’ Dwight Smith Jr.

The Blue Jay Hunter gives us three totally logical explanations for Rougned Odor’s slip and fall on Saturday at the Rogers Centre.

Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com tells us about Joe Biagini’s best start as a big leaguer, on what was a day of firsts for him on Sunday.

Lastly, GROF is on top of the activities of a whole mess of former Jays pitchers:

Lastly lastly, RIP Frank Dedford. Deadspin has posted a couple of their favourite pieces from the Sports Illustrated legend who passed away today at his home in Key West. Have a read.