Jays Watch: Getting a closer look at Thames
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
|Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames congratulates batter Jose Bautista after his game-winning home run against the Cardinals in St. Louis, Miss., June 24, 2011. (SARAH CONARD/Reuters)
DETROIT - Corey Patterson made his second start of the season at designated hitter, but it’s unlikely to be his last, as the Toronto Blue Jays plan to give Eric Thames a thorough examination in the outfield over the next few weeks.
“We wanted to get the three lefthanded bats in the lineup (Monday),” said manager John Farrell. “We’re in the process of getting a more extended look at Eric in the outfield. Given how large this outfield is, we felt like Rajai (Davis) was needed in centre and at the same time we wanted Corey in there against Scherzer.
“(Thames) will get reps in left, right and at DH under the stated plan of getting Jose Bautista to third base.”
Once Bautista is installed at third (probably Tuesday), the Jays plan to rotate Juan Rivera, Patterson, Davis and Thames through the outfield with a little bit more regularity.
McGowan on hold
Dustin McGowan has hit a bump in the road as the Jays try to stretch him out to see if he can once again resume his big-league career as a starting pitcher.
McGowan pitched five two-inning simulated games without incident but experienced some discomfort several days ago, just before he was to stretch out to a three-inning stint.
“He’s been held out of his most recent start,” said Farrell. “He felt a little forearm stiffness. The MRI has been negative. When you start to build that base, there are going to be some peaks and valleys on the way.
“We have to listen to what his body is telling him and telling us.”
McGowan threw a side session Monday and felt no discomfort, but it will be more important how he feels Tuesday.
Litsch closing in
Starter Jesse Litsch will finish his rehab assignment at New Hampshire with as many starts as it takes to get him stretched out to start at the big-league level.
“We’re looking at a minimum of two more starts,” said Farrell. “Last time out he threw 53 pitches and ideally we’ll want him up to 85-90 pitches before we activate him.”