|Toronto's Yunel Escobar goes yard against the Oakland A's. (Stan Behal/QMI AGENCY)
TORONTO - The Blue Jays may be pushing the running game but there’s nothing wrong with the pop in their bats that was so evident last year.
Travis Snider slammed a three-run homer in the fourth inning Wednesday night. That gave the Blue Jays nine for the season, behind only the Yankees and Texas so far.
Toronto hit a club record 257 homers last season but this year’s team is off to an even better start. The Jays have now hit homers in the first five games of a season for the first time since 2000.
he’s been hit
Mike McCoy got a surprise start at designated hitter. “He’s been a contributor to the offence here of late and with Jose (Bautista) absence we’re taking a look at different ways to manufacture some runs,” manager John Farrell said.
McCoy came into the game with four hits in seven at-bats. Bautista is expected to rejoin the team for its weekend series in Los Angeles.
With so many new players Farrell is still experimenting and keeping “everyone involved is part of it. Tomorrow, with a day game, we’ll probably have a different look again.”
Smart ‘n’ sassy
“Is nine innings asking too much?” — Farrell on what he expected from starter Jesse Litsch in his first start Wednesday night. Litsch started the game nicely with a fastball in the low 90s and he threw a nasty changeup in the second inning that had Mark Ellis’ bat flying into the stands. Everybody ducked, well everybody who showed up anyway which for the second consecutive game consisted of a crowd so small that instead of introducing the starting lineup the announcer could’ve introduced the fans.
In praise of Carlos
Reliever Carlos Villanueva came in for praise yesterday for his 2 2/3 scoreless innings in Tuesday’s 7-6 comeback. “He stabilized the game for us. He’s gained a lot of our trust,” said Farrell. “He can pitch off his fastball and his secondary stuff. He’s a guy not afraid to throw any pitch anywhere in the count.”
The trainer’s room
Brandon Morrow and Frank Francisco will both pitch today in Dunedin as the farm club plays its season opener against the Clearwater Phillies. Francisco is rehabbing a sore shoulder and Morrow is coming back from a tender elbow ... Outfielder Scott Podsednik is running again after having the cast removed from his foot. Podsednik suffered plantar fasciitis, cutting short his attempt to make the big club’s roster.