Blue Jays Watch
By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun
VARITEK TAKES PASS ON JAYS
Should the Blue Jays be insulted by this?
Would it really matter if they were?
Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek yesterday decided to drop his appeal of a four-game suspension he received from Major League Baseball because of a fight with Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on July 24.
Thus, Varitek's suspension began last night as the Red Sox visited the Blue Jays in the first game of a three-game series at the SkyDome.
"It made the most sense for us as a team and with our matchups," Varitek said.
Translation: We aren't afraid of the Jays.
The Red Sox, who currently are in a tight race for the American League's wild-card playoff spot, have some potentially tough games starting next week against Anaheim, Texas and Oakland. So Varitek decided to opt out of his appeal hearing, which was scheduled for Thursday.
Eight players were disciplined for the July 24 fracas between the Red Sox and Yankees, with five of them being suspended. Varitek and Rodriguez got four-game sentences and fines of $2,000 US.
Rodriguez had been planning to appeal his suspension, too, but he abandoned that idea on Aug. 14. Rodriguez served his suspension last week.
"When Alex dropped his appeal, the chances of (my suspension) being reduced were very slim," Varitek reasoned.
Jays interim manager John Gibbons said he's looking forward to seeing what 30-year-old pitcher Dave Maurer can do now that he has been called up from triple-A Syracuse. A roster spot was created when outfielder Frank Catalanotto was placed on the disabled list with an abdominal injury that also affects his right groin.
Maurer is the only left-handed pitcher in the Toronto bullpen.
"This is a good chance for him as we look toward the future," Gibbons said. "There's a reason lefties hang around in this game for a long time."
Regarding the rest of the Jays' bullpen, Gibbons was asked if he's concerned that rookies Vinnie Chulk and Jason Frasor might be showing signs of fatigue.
"Everybody's tired," Gibbons said. "You couldn't find a guy in baseball who isn't tired right now. I'm tired and I haven't even done anything yet."