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Daily Duce: Monday, June 5th

Daily??!?!?

Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet looks at how the Jays seem to have dodged a bullet when it comes to Sunday’s Devon Travis incident, as x-rays on the second baseman’s left hand came back negative after he took a hard pitch there from Yankees starter Luis Severino. But does the clean x-ray mean Travis won’t be going on the DL? I’m not so sure, as Arden’s Sportsnet colleagues, Shi Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith, report that lefty reliever Jeff Beliveau has travelled out west to join the club — and as much as some will want to believe that he’s coming in to take the place of the beleaguered J.P. Howell, it feels more likely that Travis could hit the DL, with Beliveau simply giving John Gibbons an extra lefty on the roster. At the time of this writing, there has been no word on what any of this means just yet.

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Arden has a great one in which he talks to Josh Donaldson about the in-game adjustments he made on his way to two home runs on Friday, and he also breaks down Joe Biagini’s varied approach to pitching to Aaron Judge.

Speaking of Judge, Cathal “the Blue Jays are trying to lose on purpose” Kelly would really like for you to love the Yankees, and Judge in particular, according to his latest for the Globe and Mail.

Late last week it was reported that Aaron Sanchez would likely resume throwing at some point over the weekend, but Keegan Matheson of BlueJays.com notes that there was a bit of a schedule change, meaning he won’t actually do so until here on Monday.

Also from BlueJays.com, Keegan looks at Joe Biagini, who continues to look the part of a capable starter — something that could give the Jays a few interesting options once Sanchez is ready to return.

And speaking still of Sanchez, Israel Fehr of the Athletic looks at how he’s tried to remain sharp during his time off, using a time-worn method: the towel drill. Apparently going through his pitching motion with a towel in hand doesn’t aggravate his blister problems, so he’s been doing so, trying to keep his mechanics sharp.

Great stuff, as always, from Josh Howsam of BP Toronto, as he examines Francisco Liriano’s first start back from the DL, and finds quite a bit of positive, in terms of stuff and indicators for arm health. It wasn’t all great, but it was a step in the right direction compared to what we saw before the DL.

Back to Sportsnet, where the Tao of Stieb looks at the Jays’ relentless schedule ahead — a stretch that could wind up determining the fate of this season. And where Jeff Blair tells us that, despite some early season worries, Roberto Osuna is back to his best.

Over at the Toronto Sun, Steve Buffery has a lengthy piece on Ryan Tepera, who is coming into his own this season in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. In the piece he offers us this heretofore unknown tidbit: “In August of 2015, the Blue Jays put in a waiver claim for Rajai Davis from the Detroit Tigers in the hopes of obtaining the speedy outfielder for their playoff run,” he writes. “The Jays had two days to work out a trade, but Detroit insisted on right-handed pitcher Ryan Tepera going the other way.” The Jays, obviously kept the young reliever instead.

Elsewhere in the Sun, Buffery talks to Ross Atkins about the success of Justin Smoak so far this season — something the Jays’ GM can laugh about now, after taking quite a bit of heat for the extension he signed Smoak to last summer (and, y’know, rightly so).

Jeff Quattrochiocchi of Jays From the Couch writes that Justin Smoak has been one of the very best hitters in baseball this season, which maybe isn’t quite true (Smoak’s 139 wRC+ ranks him 31st among hitters with at least 150 plate appearances), but he’s definitely been outstanding! And Jeff’s analysis goes deep into why.

Jays Droppings offers us some rather hilarious Deep Thoughts by John Gibbons.

Batter’s Box has some tasty notes from this weekend in the Jays’ minor league system.

Clutchlings gives us some names to watch on the DSL Blue Jays, whose season (in the Dominican Summer League, obviously) is now underway.

Buster Olney has a rather interesting one at ESPN.com (Insider Olney), as he looks at whether or not hitters’ new obsession with launch angle is helping them or hurting them.

Lastly, Jonathan Bernhardt of Fan Rag almost says something nice about the Jays, writing that the Kendrys Morales deal is already looking like a win for the club… then calling it a “hollow victory” because Cleveland is doing well in the AL Central, despite Edwin Encarnacion’s typical slow start, while the Jays are still in last place in what might be baseball’s toughest division. Meh.

  • Rob Ray

    Edwin’s “slow” start isn’t his typical slow start. Edwin spent 8 years as a Jay and averaged 71 strike outs a year the first seven years. That number jumped to 138 last year and this year he’s on pace to strike out 186 times. I was listening to the Indians a couple weeks ago and their radio announcer Tom Hamilton pointed out Edwin was swinging and missing at high 90-92 MPH fastballs and has been all year. . Hamilton seems to think EE is in decline.

    • Mule or etc...

      His strikeout rate has increased for four years straight. He also moved from one of the best parks for right-handed power to one of the worst. He’s 34. I think it’s safe to say his best years are behind him.

  • Sammy the Bull

    Waiver claim on Rajai Davis in August 2015, huh? Rajai does mash lefties — sounds like AA was envisioning a Revere / Rajai platoon in LF and the lead-off spot down the stretch.