August 7, 2012
Happ loses first Jays startShields shuts down Toronto bats
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - First things first: Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, making his first start in 20 days, did not appear to be injured when he left Tuesday's game in the fifth inning.
“I’m fine,” Happ said with a quizzical look.
Chad Jenkins, who came in relief for Toronto in the sixth, worked three scoreless innings and represented the 51st player that the Jays have used this season.
A total of 25 Jays opened the season in Cleveland. More than that have come and gone since.
Many were 51s in triple-A Las Vegas, including David Cooper, Moises Sierra, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Gose and Yan Gomes, but only Jenkins is the 51st Jay.
Happ and Jenkins weren’t all that bad Tuesday as the Jays fell to Tampa Bay Rays right-hander James Shields in a 4-1 loss before 13,823 fans at Tropicana Field.
The small-market Tampa Bays ($63.6 million team payroll) are on their way to winning their 16th consecutive home series against the Jays -- 14 at the Trop and one at Champion Stadium at Disney’s Wide World of Sports where things got really goofy, as even Goofy showed.
The Jays' string of futility began in 2007 when Roy Halladay was a Jay, continued after Carl Crawford left Tampa for Boston and was maintained by Shields, who got the Rays off on the right foot Tuesday.
And Toronto has not had an injury-plagued season like this every year since 2007.
The Jays managed three hits -- a homer by Colby Rasmus, his 20th, a single by Rasmus and a line single to centre by Adeiny Hechavarria, his first major-league hit.
A team has not dropped 16 consecutive series in another park since the California Angels struggled at the Kingdome against the Seattle Mariners from 1979-1987.
THREE FALLEN STARTERS
“My dad said he’d never seen anything like it in all his years,” said Jays hurler Kyle Drabek Tuesday morn at the Bobby Mattick Facility in Dunedin, Fla. First, Brandon Morrow walked off during a game in June unable to continue due to a strained left oblique. Two days later, Drabek went down and is headed for his second Tommy John surgery. The next game, Drew Hutchison departed with an elbow injury. After multiple visits to doctors, Hutchison felt discomfort in his third session and he too will have Tommy John surgery Thursday performed by Dr. James Andrews ... Drabek said he’s aiming to straighten his arm after surgery, working on range of motion exercises and will throw earlier than his first surgery ... Dr. David W. Altchek, the New York Mets’ club physician, performed Drabek’s initial operation since the doctor performed the surgery on his father’s friend, Pete Harnisch. “What did I know? I was 18,” said Drabek, then a Philadelphia Phillies farmhand. “I’m hoping to be back for the all-star break, that will be 13 months?” ... Drabek said Scott Mathieson of Aldergrove, B.C., helped him through his first rehab. Mathieson had a second Tommy John operation, recovered and is pitching in Japan. Jason Frasor also had two Tommy Johns.
Adam Lind, sidelined with a bad back, was moving slowly as he headed to the batting cage in Dunedin. “I could probably play ... we’re missing David Price this series,” joked Lind. “Man, is he tough.” ... Dustin McGowan, who was the story of the spring and expected to be in the rotation before another injury sidelined him, will have arthroscopic shoulder surgery Wednesday to evaluate the right shoulder joint. It’s McGowan’s fifth surgery: three shoulders, a Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and a knee surgery.
Happ said outside of a Desmond Jennings double, a pitch he left over the plate, he thought he’d pitched well. “I’m not sure how some of their hits fell in,” said Happ. “I felt like I was getting ahead of hitters.” Happ’s next outing will be his first start on regular rest -- he filled in the opener for Carlos Villanueva. “Starting is what I know” ... Toronto's Moises Sierra fouled a ball off his ankle in the fifth inning. No Tommy John required ... Jenkins struck out Ryan Roberts, the first hitter he faced. “Soon as I got on the mound all the nerves were gone,” said Jenkins ... Tampa's B.J. Upton doubled in the third, advancing Jennings to third base. The Rays scored on back-to-back sacrifice flies ... Moises Sierra caught Ryan Roberts’ pop up for the final out of the third as circus music played ... Happ allowed back-to-back bloop, a double by Roberts and a single by Sean Rodriguez in the second, for the game's first run after sitting down the first five Rays in order. Happ also fielded a comebacker behind his back off the bat of Evan Longoria.
DOT DOT DOTS
Cristina Anthopoulos, wife of Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, gave birth to a son, John, 2:18 Tuesday afternoon ... Jays coach Torey Lovullo was not at Tropicana Field, leaving to attend personal matters, so Luis Rivera took over coaching first ... Reliever Drew Carpenter elected to refuse his assignment to triple-A Las Vegas and become a free agent.