June 22, 2009
If you're an aggrieved owner of Jason Frasor(notes) who's wondering why, exactly, Jeremy Accardo(notes) picked up a save last Thursday in Philadelphia, Jays manager Cito Gaston has an explanation for you:
"I screwed it up."
Specifically, Gaston screwed up the double switch protocol.
In case you haven't read the details already, we'll recap. Toronto held a one-run lead over the Phillies in the eighth inning. There were two outs, a runner was on second base, and the Jays had the pitcher's spot due up in the ninth. Gaston's intention was to bring catcher Rod Barajas(notes) into the game, replacing Raul Chavez(notes), while also bringing in Frasor to relieve Brandon League(notes). That would have allowed Barajas to lead off the next inning while keeping Frasor on the mound.
But Gaston failed to share his plan with the proper authorities. This from MLB.com's Jordan Bastian:
Where Gaston messed up was in walking straight to the mound and not consulting with the home-plate umpire.
"I thought about it," Gaston said, "and then after I went to the mound, then you couldn't [double switch]. You have to approach the umpire first before you do that and I went to the mound."
... Once there, he turned back to the dugout and made a hand motion toward the dugout, pounding his fist in an open hand -- signaling for the catcher. Someone in the dugout alerted him that the double switch had to be called off, though.
Naturally, things worked out perfectly for the Jays. Chavez gunned down a would-be base-stealer, Barajas belted a pinch-hit homer in the top of the ninth, and Accardo finished things off with an assist from BJ Ryan(notes). Frasor ended up with the win.
Frasor is a much better pitcher now than he was in 2004 when he recorded 17 saves for the Jays. He has added that funky split-change thing with the little-hand grip. That extra off-speed pitch to go with a 94 m.p.h. fastball and a decent breaking ball allows him to fill in while Downs nurses his toe back to health.
Downs is throwing from flat ground, but we still don't have a timetable for his return. "I've just kind of put Downs out of my mind right now," said Gaston. As if his closer were just another rule that he could disregard.
In other toe-related news...
• Jonathan Broxton(notes) allowed four hits and four earned runs in 2.1 innings over the weekend. He's throwing his usual 96-98 mph, but it's not clear that the issues with his right big toe are completely behind him. Broxton had a cortisone injection last week and the back-to-back appearances are certainly encouraging, but grabbing Ramon Troncoso(notes) (7 HD, 4 SV) wouldn't be the worst move.
• Brad Lidge(notes) (
too many [expletive] runs knee) is expected to return from the DL later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday. He threw a scoreless inning for Double-A Reading on Saturday (1 H, 2 Ks) and reportedly felt no lingering pain. Ryan Madson(notes) owners should be thrilled that Lidge is almost back, because last week did not go well: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 BS, 2 L.
• Chad Qualls(notes) hasn't been lights-out lately, but don't put Sunday's loss on him. Check the highlight. That's a brutal first loss for Clay Zavada(notes) (pictured), the pride of Streator, Illinois.
• Kiko Calero(notes) hit the DL with shoulder inflammation after appearing in 36 of his team's first 67 games. "It's nothing serious," said manager Fredi Gonzalez. He'd use Calero today if you let him.
• Chris Ray(notes) is back from Triple-A Norfolk after posting 13 Ks and a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings. Jim Johnson(notes) figures to be next in line for saves if/when George Sherrill(notes) is traded, however.
• Kerry Wood(notes) blew a pair of save opportunities in his return to Wrigley over the weekend, but he'd made 11 straight scoreless appearances (and six hitless) before the Cubs roughed him up. His velocity is actually better than it was in '08. Don't panic. Unless you're Eric Wedge.
• Frank Francisco(notes) (shoulder) returned from the DL and pitched yet another scoreless inning on Saturday. He's allowed just one run (earned or unearned) in 20.2 innings so far this year. After he was activated, manager Ron Washington declared, "I won't use [Francisco] right away in the closer's spot." It shouldn't take too long, however.
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