And on Friday night in Minneapolis, with the Jays down a run, he pinch-hit Ben Francisco for Adam Lind against lefty Glen Perkins with two out in the eighth and the tying run on third.
Now, neither move worked out: Vizquel ran the count to 3-1 and popped up a safety squeeze, while Francisco was jammed and his flare to left was caught for the third out.
So, good moves or bad?
Well, Farrell gave the Jays what he thought was a better chance to score, rather than sticking with the set lineup.
What Farrell, unlike Gaston, had to deal with was the fallout from the pinch-hitting. Arencibia was angry. And he had a right to be, being in the batter’s box and being called back.
Francisco’s pinch-hitting appearance was the Jays’ 14th of the season. They have managed one hit.
Projecting and allowing for the expanded rosters in September, the Jays could be looking at a total in the 70-80 pinch-hit range range.
Previously, the Jays were in that range with 73 pinch- hit appearances, led by Shawn Green’s 15 in 1995 under Gaston; 84 in ’99 under Jim Fregosi with Willie Greene having 20 at-bats; 76 in 2002 under managers Buck Martinez and Carlos Tosca, led by Tom Wilson’s 15; 85 deployed by Tosca and John Gibbons in 2004 with Frank Catalanotto having 10 appearances; and 77 used by Gibbons and Gaston in 2008, led by Matt Stairs’ 15.
The busiest season for pinch-hitters since the Jays had a winning record was in ’84 when manager Bobby Cox used 222, with Cliff Johnson having 34 at-bats.
That was during the left-right platoon days with Ernie Whitt and Martinez behind the plate, Rance Mulliniks and Garth Iorg at third, Davey Collins and George Bell in left, Cliff Johnson and Willie Aikens at DH.
Farrell should be commended for ending the Francisco Cordero fire-alarm fires in the ninth, as well.
No one in the clubhouse will complain about that.
Yet, pinch-hitting for players who have never been pinch-hit for can be dangerous unless the players buy into the manager’s explanations.
Gaston’s most difficult decision, or at least the one which got the most reaction, was in Game 6 of the 1992 World Series. In the 10th inning, he called back shortstop Manny Lee and sent up Pat Tabler.
Lee walked down the steps of the deep dugout at Fulton-County Stadium fired his helmet on the ground and it bounced hitting a coach in the face.
Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish and Dana Brown, assistant to the GM Anthopoulos, were scouting 6-foot-3 right-hander Duane Underwood of Marietta, Ga. Underwood is ranked 65th overall by the Perfect Game Scouting Bureau ... One scout compares Jays reliever Jason Frasor to Danny Cox, a workhorse for the Jays’ Series-winning teams. “I notice they’ve used him once on five days’ rest and once on four days,” said the evaluator. “The only rough outing he had, against Tampa, was on one day’s rest.” ... Another baseball man watched Henderson Alvarez on Thursday: “He opens throwing 94-96 mph in the first two innings and the last four innings he’s throwing 90-92, including one fastball at 89. That’s a concern for me. Now I understand why his strikeouts are low.”
Atlanta Braves pinch hitter and utility man Eric Hinske had a week to remember: two four-hit games and won the Kentucky Derby pool when he drew “I’ll Have Another.” ... Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon joined Joe McCarthy (Yankees), Earl Weaver (Orioles), Danny Ozark (Phillies) and Jim Leyland (Pirates and Tigers) as the only men who to manage a big-league club for 1,000 games while never having played in the majors ... Slugger Albert Pujols of the Angels hit his first homer of the season on Sunday against Drew Hutchison of the Jays after Pujols was homerless in April. Babe Ruth did not go deep in April but hit 54 homers in 1920.
Few players could possibly have been struggling more than Rod Barajas. The Pirates’ catcher was homerless, batting .127 without an RBI when he stepped in Tuesday with two outs in the ninth and Alex Presley on third, Pittsburgh trailing Washington by a run.
He crushed a Henry Rodriguez fastball into the base of PNC Park’s left field rotunda for a 5-4 victory.
Barajas, 37, was coming off a .230 season with the Dodgers with 16 home runs. The Pirates were encouraged enough to aggressively offer him a one-year contract worth $4 million as a free agent, and he signed quickly.
“It’s tough to have this at the beginning,” Barajas told reporters. “If it happens later, your average goes down, but you have something to fall back on, at the beginning, when those numbers are low, that’s all anybody can see.”
HAMELS: ‘JAYS’ PROBLEM NEXT YEAR’?
Does one and one add up to an ace lefty?
Discussing the Cole Hamels-Bryce Harper dust-up with a scout on Tuesday, an evaluator said:
“Hamels doesn’t have a lot of street smarts. All he had to do was say the ball got away from him, or whatever, and it’s over,” said the scout. “Now, he gets into this old-school ball and all that, creating a stir and gets suspended.
“Whatever, he might be the Blue Jays’ problem next year.”
Yeah, right, we thought. The Jays are really going to outbid the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, etc. for the Philadelphia Phillies soon-to-be free agent left-hander.
However, Ken Rosenthal from FOXSports.com — a career .700 hitter — reported Saturday that the Jays and Phillies have “engaged in dialogue” with the Phillies regarding Shane Victorino and Hamels.”
Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos inquires about everyone, except for retired players.
Hamels plunked Harper, said it was intentional and was suspended five games, which means he’ll pitch with an extra day of rest.
VLAD, MARINERS WERE AN UNLIKELY MATCH
The free-agent shopping season had begun after the 2003 season and one of the top names on the market was Montreal Expos outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, coming off a season in which he hit .330 with 25 homers, 79 RBIs and a 1.012 OPS.
A suitor surfaced which made zero sense: The Seattle Mariners.
Guerrero met with M’s general manager Billy Bavasi and was interested. We couldn’t figure out why. Why would a career National Leaguer want to go to Seattle?
Turns out Guerrero, who always travels with his mother, was at Safeco for the 2001 all-star game. Both loved the city and wanted to sign with the Mariners.
Eventually, he signed a five-year, $70- million deal with the Los Angeles Angels, spent four years with the Texas Rangers and last year with the Baltimore Orioles. Now Guerrero, 37, is in Dunedin working his way into shape to be the Jays’ right-handed DH.
Some Jays were upset when Frank Thomas, 39, was signed as a free-agent, a two-year, $18,112 deal in 2007 stunting the growth and playing time of Adam Lind, 23.
RUNNER ON FIRST NO SWEAT FOR DIAMOND
The first time I saw Scott Diamond pitch was during March break 2002 at Clearwater.
After a Blue Jays game at Dunedin, I headed to watch the Team Ontario 16s play. Leaning against the chain-link fence talking with coach Danny Thompson, I was surprised at an ump’s call which looked like strike three, but was adjudged ball four.
“Not to worry,” Thompson said. “Baby Face will pick him off.”
And the lefty promptly picked off the runner.
Coming off seven scoreless against the Los Angeles Angels in which he fanned seven (Torii Hunter and Mike Trumbo twice each, Chris Iannetta, Erick Aybar) the Guelph, Ont., southpaw starts for the Minnesota Twins against the Jays on Sunday afternoon.
Diamond went undrafted both as a high schooler in 2004 and at Binghamton University in 2007.
Rather than sit and sulk, Diamond pitched for the Martinsville Mustangs in the Coastal Plain League. Atlanta Braves’ scouts Paul Faulk and Monty Goldberg spotted him, were impressed and signed him.
He pitched three seasons in the Braves system, going 12-2 with a 2.79 ERA at class-A Myrtle Beach for former Jays minor league coach Rocket Wheeler in 2008.
Twins scouts Rob Antony, Bill Milos and Joel Lepel recommended taking Diamond in 2010 Rule 5 draft. Minnesota sent the Braves their second round pick in 2009, 6-foot-6 reliever Billy Bullock, currently at triple-A Gwinnett, so they could send Diamond to triple-A Rochester.
It was funny when Twins fan tried to drown out Jays fans at Target Field with “USA, USA” chants. The Jays have 24 Latins and Americans and one Canadian. The Twins have two Canadians in injured Justin Morneau and Diamond, while , Rene Tosoni is at Rochester.
MORE FROM GUELPH
The city of Guelph is taking over.
Besides lefty Scott Diamond with the Twins, Guelph’s Jamie Pogue is the new bullpen catcher with the reigning World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.
New manager Mike Matheny, an ex-Jay who seldom got to play under manager Jim Fregosi, forged a friendship with Pogue as the Cards minor league camp.
Pogue has been living the high life as the Cards opened the Miami Marlins new stadium, headed to Milwaukee for the Brewers opener, then the Great American Park in Cincinnati and finally home for the season opener at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
“The sculpture in Miami was something,” said Pogue outside the coach’s room he shares with hitting coach Mark McGwire, assistant hitting coach John Mabry, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, first base coach Chris Maloney, third base coach Jose Oquendo, bench coach Mike Aldrete and bullpen coach Dyar Miller.
“In the bullpen at Miller Park, fans were right behind me, yelling some awful things,” Pogue said.
Pogue says the Cards hardest thrower on the Cards staff is Jason Motte at 97 MPH ... “and he throws a heavy ball.”
Yet he caught someone with more velocity: “Matt Anderson threw 99 MPH in 2006.” They were teammates with the Bridgeport Bluefish in the independent Atlantic League.
Pogue, 34, played nine seasons in the minors, three with the Cards, the rest in indy ball, before retiring from pro ball after the 2008 season.
20 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK
Day-by-day to the 1992 World Series
May 6: Devon White and Dave Winfield each doubled while Joe Carter homered off Randy Johnson in a 12-4 romp over the Mariners. Manny Lee homered off ex-Jay Jim Acker. White produced three hits.
May 7: Winfield hit a grand slam off Mike Schooler with two out in the ninth for an 8-7 win in Seattle and Tom Henke had the save.
May 8: Dave Stieb allowed a home run to ex-Jay Rene Gonzalez to make a winner out of Mark Eichhorn in a 4-1 loss to the Angels, as Pat Tabler had three hits.
May 9: Todd Stottlemyre and Jim Abbott hooked up again (Abbott lost 1-0 in Toronto), but this time Abbott was a 2-1 winner in Anaheim, while Robbie Alomar had two hits.
May 10: Carter hit a solo homer and a two-run single in a 4-1 win over the Angels as Juan Guzman (114 pitches) went the distance in a five hitter.
May 12: Key, Duane Ward and Henke combined on a seven-hit 3-0 win over the A’s and Dave Stewart, who allowed homers to John Olerud and Pat Borders.