March 29, 2012
This could be Vizquel's farewell season
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
DUNEDIN, FLA. - Omar Vizquel says this season will probably be his final one.
Since be broke into the big leagues in 1989 with the Seattle Mariners, Vizquel has had what will be a 24-year run at the top. But when the 2012 season comes to an end, Vizquel said Thursday it may be time to finally hang them up.
“I think so,” Vizquel said. “This might be my last year, unless I go out on the field and have a tremendous year, hitting .280 plus, and you know, find myself very good health-wise, body-wise.
One mine field that awaits him is how he responds to playing on the Rogers Centre’s artificial turf, the lone artificial turf surface in the American League.
“I think it’s going to be a great challenge for me this year playing on the turf,” he said. “I don’t know how my body is going to respond to that. We’ll see at the end of the year how I feel. It’s very hard to predict it.
“I guess I have to look back at my numbers and back at my year and see how my body feels. I think the most important thing now is just to listen to my body and know how to respond to the day-after-night games, the trips and the traveling and everything else that go along with baseball.
So far, he’s had one sweet ride.
FRANCISCO ON THE MEND
Ben Francisco had a good sweat going, one produced from taking his licks in the batting cage as well as participating in some running drills.
It marked the most active day for the Blue Jays’ backup outfielder since he tweaked his hamstring while participating in a March 23 game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I’m encouraged and every day is getting better and better and today I was able to do a lot out there,” Francisco said. “Hopefully I can get it tuned up on the weekend and be ready for opening day.”
Toronto’s plans for Francisco, who bats right, will be to take over in left on the days that the Jays will face a tough left-hander. Manager John Farrell will then have the option of resting either left-handed hitting Eric Thames, who plays left, or first baseman Adam Lind. If Farrell decided to sit Lind, then Edwin Encarnacion would take over at first with Francisco becoming the DH.
“Today I was running bases, just the normal game-like situations and it felt good,” he said. “It’s just a matter of trusting it. Like I said, I’m encouraged by the progress I’m making.”
Although Francisco will have missed a week or more by the time he is able to play in one of the final games of spring, he said it won’t take him much time to get back up to speed.
“I’ve been in the (batting) cage since the first day I hurt it so I feel pretty comfortable right now,” he said. “If I get 10 at-bats or so, I should be good.”