Coming out party for RasmusOutfielder gets his first hit, run as a Blue Jay
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
|The Blue Jays celebrate their victory against the Rangers at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., July 31, 2011. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Few of the sellout crowd of 45,629 who packed the Rogers Centre on Sunday knew they were getting a two-for-one deal.
Not only did they get to show their love for Toronto Blue Jays Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, but they also got to attend the coming out party for Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus.
After going 0-for-12 in his opening three games where he had five strikeouts, Rasmus, who came to Toronto in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals last Wednesday, finally collected his first hit and scored his first run in a Jays uniform in the third inning against the Texas Rangers.
Rasmus struck out in his first at bat but snapped the 0-for-13 with a sinking liner to left field that got by charging outfielder Josh Hamilton, allowing Rasmus to advance to second on the error. After a wild pitch, Rasmus scored his first Jays run as Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion ground into a double play.
The next inning, Rasmus put an exclamation mark on his game when, with runners on second and third, he launched a ball over the head of centre fielder Endy Chavez that one-hopped the wall and drove in two runs.
Not to be outdone, Toronto's starting pitcher Brandon Morrow bounced back from a terrible outing against the Baltimore Orioles last Tuesday to strike out a season high 11 batters over seven innings as the Jays celebrated with a 7-3 victory over the Rangers.
The triumph allowed the Jays to win the series 2-1 and take the season series 6-4.
“On a day when we honour one of the best players ever to come through this organization, in front of a packed house with a lot of electricity, it was a good game all the way around,” Jays manager John Farrell said.
Especially pleasing was to have Rasmus contribute to a victory.
“The past day or so he started to feel a little more relaxed,” Farrell said. “You come in here, there’s a lot of (high) expectations and even by his own admission he felt a little tense, a little nervous but I think the past couple of days he’s started to mix in with the group a little more. His BP was pretty good today and particularly the 3-2 fastball from Wilson, a two-run double, just a classic swing that I think that everyone that had seen him for a while, he’s just known for.
“I’m sure from his part to feel like he’s making a contribution is the biggest thing. A good day for him. I’m glad to see him get his feet underneath him and relax a little bit and just go out and play.”
It’s a bit of a shock for all players who get traded, perhaps moreso for those that are 24 such as Rasmus. Part of the package of being dealt is the added pressure that is self inflicted.
“For sure,” Rasmus said. “Not knowing anybody, not knowing the coaches, you just want to make a good first impression, want to do good and this and that.
“So the first couple of days was definitely nerve-wracking. I wasn’t able to do some of the stuff I wanted to do. But today I felt better, so hopefully that will continue.”
So first hit, first run scored, first RBIs.
“Pretty good day,” Rasmus said. “I’m going to soak it up ‘till Tuesday when we get back out there.”
In moving from the Cards to the Jays, Rasmus went from a baseball mad city to one that is curiously indifferent and to a clubhouse that is filled with players his own age.
“I’d say it’s a lot different,” he said. “Everybody here has welcomed me with open arms, that’s what it feels like. Everybody’s been real cool and it definitely is a different environment, a little less pressure-packed.”
Morrow was so chocked up with all the pre-game Alomar celebrations that he walked the leadoff batter on four consecutive balls and took six pitches before he was able to throw a strike ... Morrow quickly settled down and showed he had his good stuff as he struck out five batters over the first two innings ... Rangers SS Andres Blanco committed the unpardonably error of throwing wildly to first after fielding a grounder from Jose Molina. Not only did he fail to make the out on the slow-running Molina, but he airmailed the throw into the stands, allowing Molina to advance to second. It ended up costing the Rangers a run as Molina advanced to third on a slow nubber and scored on a single to centre by John McDonald ... McDonald stole second but with two out, took off for third on a 3-2 pitch to Raji Davis that drew a walk. McDonald, though, was easily gunned down by Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden ... Defence is still a bit of an adventure for Eric Thames, who got the start in right. In the sixth, with two out and one on, he drifted back on a deep ball struck by Michael Young instead of sprinting back quickly. The ball eventually drifted over his head for an RBI double instead of being the third out. To make matters worse, Mike Napoli followed with an RBI double ... Edwin Encarnacion has received his share of raps for poor defence while playing at third but he made a web gem of a play at first to close out the seventh as he dived to his right to snag a ball and then made an accurate toss to first for the out.