By : jin
The Blue Jays had some pressing needs in the off-season, including two starting pitchers and possibly a second baseman. Air Max 97 Undefeated White For Sale . They decided to put their faith in Ryan Goins at second and either through budgetary constraints or trades that fell through were unable to get the needed arms. Still youve got to give Alex Anthopoulos credit for some of his bargain basement pick-ups that have shored up the Jays in a couple of areas. Lets start with Juan Francisco, who was picked up on waivers from Milwaukee in April. Though not nearly the third baseman Brett Lawrie is, his presence and bat have allowed skipper John Gibbons to shift Lawrie to second, at least for the short term, to give the Jays a stronger all-round lineup. Francisco is hitting .292 and is nearly halfway to his career high of 18 homers of last season. Hes slugged eight so far with 19 runs batted in. Hes also insurance at 1B and DH if Adam Linds back acts up again. Steve Tolleson was signed as a free agent back in December to provide some middle infield depth. On the days, Lawrie is at third (mainly against lefties), Tolleson has done a solid job at second, and even showed a flare for pitching in that 15-4 blow-out loss to Cleveland last week. His presence also allows for more developement time for Goins in Buffalo. Dioner Navarro has been a big upgrade behind the plate over J.P. Arencibia and has developed a great chemistry with lefty Mark Buehrle, whos off to the best start of his career at 7-1 with a 2.11 ERA. Navarro, who was signed as a free agent in December, has also knocked in 17 runs. Erik Kratz, who shares the back-up catching role at least for now with Josh Thole, helped guide Drew Hutchison through the best start of his career Friday night at Arlington in a complete game 2-0 victory over the Rangers. Kratz, who came over from the Phillies along with reliever Rob Rasmussen for reliever Brad Lincoln, keyed a two-run rally against Texas with a bunt single. Hes also shown a little pop in his limited role with two home runs. Another bargain pick-up who might have an impact is 25-year-old Australian-born righthander Liam Hendriks. With Marcus Stroman returning to Buffalo to hone his abilities as a starter, Hendriks is the odds-on favourite to be called up and fill the vacant spot in the rotation on Saturday against Oakland. Hendriks, who went 2-13 with a 6.10 ERA in brief stints with Minnesota, went through a whirlwind two months in the off-season. He was claimed by the Cubs from Minnesota, then by the Orioles and finally in February, the Blue Jays picked him on waivers. He has been off the charts good with the Bisons, going 5-0 with a league-leading 1.48 ERA. Hes also walked just three batters in just over 48 innings. Hes also pitched into the seventh inning three times in his seven starts. So as disappointing as the Blue Jays off-season was in terms of a lack of big-name pick-ups, it clearly wasnt a total loss. Update From The Minors The immortal Cy Young pitched well into his 40s and when he ultimately retired, he said it was nothing to do with his arm. He said he had plenty of pitches left. It was his legs that wouldnt take the rigors of pitching anymore. The same thing may be happening with the beleaguered Ricky Romero, who had stem cells injected into both of his knees back in October. But he told the Buffalo News he still has good days and bad days with his knees and, although he wasnt making excuses, that might explain why his control is getting worse instead of better. On Friday, Romero walked a Bisons franchise record of nine in just two-2/3rds innings in what became a 4-1 loss to Gwinnett at Buffalos Coca Cola Field. In his last four starts, Ricky has walked 24 batters. Hes leaving the team for a few days to go back to California for his younger brothers college graduation at Long Beach State. Hes hoping to rejoin the Bisons this weekend in Louisville, but hoping to is the operative phrase. Anthopoulos told the Buffalo News that numerous options are being concidered, including sending Ricky to Double A New Hampshire, or maybe even extended spring training in Dunedin, or possibly even putting him on the disabled list to deal with his knee issues. Kyle Drabek hasnt exactly turned it around at Buffalo, either. He also pitched in that doubleheader on Friday ande didnt walk anyone, but gave up eight runs, six earned on 11 hits in five innings in a 9-3 loss in the second game of the twinbill. Lefty Sean Nolin, who pitched briefly with the Blue Jays last season, might have been a call-up candidate, but hes on the disabled list with a groin strain retroactive to May 14th. Not Missing a Beat You might have thought the Tigers might stumble a bit this season in the wake of the retirement of skipper Jim Leyland and the Prince Fielder trade to Texas. Not at all. Theyve won six in a row and have the largest division lead in the Majors at 6.5 games over Kansas City. They just finished sweeping a three-game series at Fenway and havent missed a beat under new skipper Brad Ausmus. Ian Kinsler, who came over from Texas in the Fielder trade, is doing a stellar job out of the lead-off spot and is hitting .315. He went 4-for-5 Sunday against Boston. An unsung hero for Detroit is suddenly heathy as DH Victor Martinez is hitting .331 with 10 homers and 25 runs batted in. Hes hitting clean-up right behind Miguel Cabrera and helping Detroit to the best road record in the Majors. All About Timing The Blue Jays might be hitting Boston Tuesday at just the right time. The defending World Series champions have dropped four in a row and have fallen to 20-23, fourth in the AL East, two games back of the Blue Jays. An odd stat, no team in the American League East has a winning record at home, heading into Week 8 of the season. The first-place Yankees have the best mark and they are only 11-11. To take that a little farther, only two teams in the other two divisions have losing records at home: Seattle and Houston. Miami has the strangest home/road splits. They have a Major League best 17-5 record at home, and a Major League worst 6-17 record on the road, for a total record of 23-22, the same as the Blue Jays. Cheap Air Max 97 All Red . Top-seeded Djokovic swept to a 6-1, 6-3 win over 51st-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in just 57 minutes, but fourth-seeded Federer had to see off a serious challenge from 48th-ranked Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic before coming through 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3. Cheap Air Max 97 All Blue .ca presents its latest weekly power rankings for the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season.Jonathan Bernier was taking shots on the ice at the Air Canada Centre on Monday, but Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said that he doesnt have definitive timeline on when his No. 1 goaltender will be ready to return. Carlyle added that while Bernier is making progress, hell decide on his goaltender for Tuesdays home game against the St. Louis Blues based upon who will give team best chance to win and that Bernier and injured defenceman Paul Ranger must give the green light before theyre available to return. Air Max 97 Pink Blush. "I felt pretty good today," Bernier told reporters after practice. "Still (too) early to say Im back tomorrow." Bernier has been out since Mar. 13 with a groin strain and the Maple Leafs have lost five straight games in his absence. 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