ANAHEIM, Calif. — A window into Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell’s approach to discipline for on-field transgressions was opened through his handling of Juan Rivera’s non-slide on a double play grounder.
On a hit and run in the seventh inning of Friday’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels, the outfielder let up as he arrived at second base and went in standing up on Travis Snider’s grounder, not even trying to break up a double play.
Farrell said the matter was handled immediately when Rivera returned to the dugout, and then put him back in the lineup for Saturday’s game with the Angels.
“He knows he should have slid,” Farrell said in his limited comments on the matter. “He knows he had the ability to interrupt a double play, it was addressed when he came off the field.”
That Farrell confirmed the matter but kept his comments brief suggests that when players cross a line, he will make them accountable for their actions, but won’t embarrass them publicly.
Meanwhile, Farrell also made his first voluntary changes to the batting order, pushing J.P. Arencibia up to sixth and dropping Edwin Encarnacion down to eighth.
“The top of the order has been good, the bottom third has been good, we’ve had some inconsistencies in the middle,” said Farrell. “I know I’ve preached a lot about trying to be consistent so guys know where they’re at in the lineup, but I think at the same time, try to find combinations that are most productive.”
ESCOBAR TURNS IT UP: Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar ran the bases and took some grounders Saturday as he works through the steps required for a return under Major League Baseball’s new concussion protocol.
Manager John Farrell said a return Sunday remains “a possibility” as long as Escobar emerges from his workout without any symptoms.
“If he comes out of today as he’s done the last two days, things would point towards him being back in the lineup,” said Farrell.
Escobar is the first player to go through the new concussion system and Farrell said, “there are some bugs that are being worked out of the entire protocol that’s in place, the language that’s been attached to the protocol.”
The Blue Jays must file paperwork outlining Escobar’s recovery, and receive approval from MLB’s medical director before the Cuban can play again.
If he does return Sunday, it will be the first time in a while since Farrell has had his entire roster to work with.
“Day 1 is the only time we’ve had our full roster,” he said. “Hopefully (Sunday) is Day 2.”
TRAVELLING MAN: Playing for 11 teams in 13 big-league seasons, Octavio Dotel has certainly been around and around and around.
“Yeah, it’s pretty exciting huh?” he quipped in the clubhouse. “I hope it doesn’t go this way, but I just need two more teams so I can be even, 13 (teams) and 13 (seasons).
“I hope not, because I’m looking forward to being in a pennant race and if we are, then nothing is going to happen to me. I (don’t) want to be traded in the middle of the season because it’s enough for me.”
The 37-year-old right-hander signed a one-year deal worth US$3.5 million with an option for 2012 at the same salary or a $750,000 buyout.
After opening the season on the DL because of a right hamstring injury, he pitched a clean inning Friday night, with all 10 of his pitches going for strikes. He expects to get stronger still.
“It’s not 100 per cent strong, it is 100 per cent (healthy),” he said. “Now that I feel good, I want to get it as strong as I expect.”
His arm is fine. He never stopped throwing while letting the leg heal and has plenty of energy.
“I feel like I can go back-to-back-to-back,” he said with a smirk. “I don’t know about four.”
DECISION TIME COMING: The looming returns of Brandon Morrow and Frank Francisco from the disabled mean it’s crunch time for starters Jo-Jo Reyes and Jesse Litsch and the relievers down the depth chart in the bullpen.
“We’ve got two more decisions, (Morrow’s) and Frankie’s,” said manager John Farrell. “So, I think every opportunity they have to go to the mound, they’re going to affect that decision one way or the other. They’re all aware of the situation they’re in, they all know Brandon is soon to return, but to their credit, the way they’ve gone out and thrown the ball has been with their focus on the job at hand rather than what might be at some point in the near future. I don’t think at this point we’re ready to determine where the room is made.”
Meanwhile, outfielder Corey Patterson is also inching closer to a return after getting hit in head during a Grapefruit League game.
“He feels very good,” said Farrell. “If you were to have him sitting here, he’d say he’s ready to go. We’d like to get him more at-bats (Saturday) and (Sunday), and then he’s eligible after that. We’ll see where that gets us.”