|Optimism surrounds Jays' new season||| Print ||
|Written by Dino Pasalic|
|Thursday, 05 April 2012 14:17|
The Toronto Blue Jays begin their 2012 campaign in Cleveland Thursday with much buzz and optimism surrounding the club’s postseason hopes.
The offseason additions of relievers Francisco Cordero, Sergio Santos and Darren Oliver could prove crucial as Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulous made a point of bolstering a bullpen which struggled to hold leads and blew several games last season.
According to Richard Griffin, Jays beat writer for the Toronto Star, the versatility of the new relievers is an asset.
“One of the strengths of the Jays’ bullpen is the number of pitchers who could perform the role of No. 1 setup man,” he said in an article.
Former Blue Jay and Sportsnet broadcaster Gregg Zaun told thedailyplanet.com that the reinforcements made in the offseason will help the club improve from last year.
“I’m cautious. I know they’re going to be better than last year just by the sheer fact that they’ve upgraded the bullpen. They’re not going to blow as many games as they did last year."
A former catcher, Zaun says that the team’s management anticipates a break-out year from some of their younger, unproven players.
“I think secretly, yes, they are [expecting a break-out year] because they haven’t flat out said 'we’re contenders for a playoff spot'. They’re talking about the organization getting better, but I think secretly they are and that’s a dangerous place to be.
“I’m a guy who looks at proven track records and a lot of the guys on the Blue Jays don’t have that. And so there’s a lot of questions marks in your mind … They’re hoping that these young guys break out."
Humber men’s baseball manager Denny Berni, who spent four years in the Boston Red Sox organization, told thedailyplanet.com that the team’s impressive form during spring training is a positive sign, especially the pitching.
“It seems like they’re getting a little bit better starts out of their starting pitchers which is going to make a big difference,” he said.
“If those starting pitchers can come out with some good performances, I think the team is going to overall play like they did in the last third and just play some better baseball.”
For more on what to expect from the Blue Jays this season listen to thedailyplanet.com’s interview with Gregg Zaun.
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