Blue Jays 25 Man Roster Outlook

Jimmy Fuchs has been following the Toronto Blue Jays on a daily basis since early March and he checks in with this end of spring training roster update. Three days before the Jays officially announce their 25-man roster, Jimmy checks in with some tidbits regarding who will make the club out of spring training.(<B>Free Preview of Premium Content</B>

Throughout this spring the main question regarding the Blue Jays was ‘how will their pitching roster shape up.' Before spring training began, the organization announced that Justin Speier would be their closer, however, they did a 360 degree turn couple of days after the spring training games started and announced rookie Gustavo Chacin has won a rotation spot and that Miguel Batista would be the Jays closer.

Although the Jays will wait until Sunday evening to officially announce their 25-man roster, InsideTheDome will list the players likely to be on the major league roster come Sunday night. General Manager J.P. Ricciardi is hard at work trying to make trades, however, as of Thursday no trades appeared imminent.

The Jays will carry eleven pitchers and fourteen position players on their opening day roster, although just four starting pitchers. Roy Halladay will be the opening day starter on Monday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and he will be followed by Gustavo Chacin and Josh Towers. David Bush will get the ball for the home opener on April 8 against the Boston Red sox. The Jays have set a tentative target date of April 10 for when Lilly will be activated from the disabled list.

Miguel Batista, Scott Schoeneweis, Justin Speier all had guaranteed spots in the Jays bullpen as spring training opened. It became obvious that Jason Frasor and Brandon League all but secured spots on the major league roster during spring training and going into the final week of spring training games seven pitchers were battling for the final spots in the bullpen. Vinnie Chulk, Pete Walker, Ryan Glynn, Kerry Ligtenberg, Justin Miller, Adrian Burnside and Scott Downs made it to the final week of cuts. Miller, Burnside and Downs never had a realistic chance of making the club. Burnside has the most impressive spring out of the non-roster invitees appearing in six games and pitching to a 1.29 ERA. Scott Downs struggled this spring going 0-0 with a 5.63 ERA in eight innings and all but secured his ticket to Triple-A Syracuse. The Jays have soured on Kerry Ligtenberg and the reliever is not expected to remain at camp much longer, with his release expected to come in the next day or two. Vinnie Chulk and Pete Walker pitched their way on the team and have appeared to capture the final two spots in the bullpen. Walker pitched in six games this spring, starting three of them, and went 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. In twelve innings he allowed just five hits and struck out fourteen batters.

Now that you know the eleven pitchers that are expected to make the club, here are the position players. Greg Myers and Gregg Zaun will be the two catchers on the roster. The rest of the infield will consist of Shea Hillenbrand, Orlando Hudson, Russ Adams and Corey Koskie. Frank Menechino and John McDonald will be the backup infielders on the Jays roster. As far as the outfield is concerned, Gabe Gross certainly was a troublemaker this spring as the Jays executives tried to figure out their opening day roster. Gross was not expected to make the club out of spring training, however, after batting .400 with eight home runs and eighteen RBI (as of Wednesday), he has given the Jays a reason to give him a look and put him on the active roster. Alexis Rios and Vernon Wells will start in right field and center field respectively as Frank Catalanotto and Reed Johnson will be the backup outfielders.

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