Alvarez won't be rattledPitcher set for Jays home opener
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
|Jays starter Henderson Alvarez will face the Red Sox in Toronto's home opener on Monday night. (Steve Nesius/Reuters/Files)
CLEVELAND - Young Henderson Alvarez, who turns 22 on April 18, will be the starting pitcher for the Blue Jays at their home opener Monday.
When asked to share his thoughts about his first start of the season coming in front of a packed house against the Red Sox, Alvarez declined.
Manager John Farrell, however, spoke on his behalf. He doesn't think that the right-hander will be rattled by the charged atmosphere.
"Kind of like he's done everything else, work quick, throw strikes and change speeds," Farrell said of what he expects. "I guarantee you everybody in our uniform will be heightened (Monday), that's the norm with opening day, but he's such a good athlete I think he can channel that adrenalin in the right way."
Alvarez made 10 starts for the Blue Jays during the final two months of the 2011 season. He lasted at least five innings in each of them.
TO THE MAT
With J.P. Arencibia having been behind the plate for the first two games and a staggering 28 innings, Farrell switched his original plans and sat him on the bench and gave Jeff Mathis his first start and appearance of the season.
"That's part of it, and looking at the series upcoming" Farrell said. "We're going to ride J.P. but at the same time my view still at that position, and not to take anything away from either guy, it's a two-man position and we're very fortunate that we've got a very good and capable one in Mathis."
Mathis responded by going 1-for-3, with the hit a double in the fifth inning. He also threw out a runner at second.
With Joel Carreno dispatched to triple-A Las Vegas after the game, the Jays will go with a four-man rotation until April 21.
Against Boston, the Jays will roll out No. 4 Alvarez on Monday, No. 5 Kyle Drabek on Tuesday, and No. 1 Ricky Romero on Wednesday. With Thursday an off day, the Jays can have No. 2 Brandon Morrow start on Friday against Baltimore, then have Alvarez pitch on Saturday and Drabek on April 15.
The Jays then will have to decide who will start April 21 at Kansas City, but it likely won’t be left-hander Aaron Laffey, who will be called up Monday to take Carreno’s spot on the 25-man roster.
"It gives us a third left-hander (bullpen) with a very heavily loaded left-handed hitting lineup in Boston," Farrell said of Laffey getting the call. "We'll determine who that starter is as we get closer."