Hurting Colby Rasmus gets day off

Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus. (Mike Cassese/REUTERS)

Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus. (Mike Cassese/REUTERS)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:53 PM ET

TORONTO - Colby Rasmus was not in the lineup Saturday. The Jays centre fielder aggravated his right groin injury on Friday and had to leave at the end of the eighth inning. On the road trip, Rasmus suffered the same injury and missed three games. "If we can get through it by keeping it to two of three days down, we much prefer that rather than 15 (days on the DL)," manager John Farrell said.

DOWN NOT UP

Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero credited pitching coach Bruce Walton on Friday for making a minor correction in his delivery, resulting in his improved performances of late. Against the Yankees on Friday, the left-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks over seven innings. When pressed as to what the tweak was, Romero wasn't forthcoming.

So, we go to the source -- Walton.

"I just basically told him that he needed to practice in his warmups of staying tall and getting the ball out of the glove, that was pretty much the gist of it," Walton said.

What was he doing wrong?

"He was collapsing a little bit on his back side which was making him throw the ball downhill," Walton said. "Instead of throwing the ball downhill he was throwing the ball uphill. He kind of broke that habit a month ago and then he got back into it last night.

"When he gets jacked up and pumped up like he did (Friday) night, he comes out of his delivery and he doesn't know it. So every inning we went over keys for his warmups. So we practiced before we pitched."

TWIST AND TURN

In his most recent start, on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays, Jays pitcher Henderson Alvarez was raked for 11 hits and six runs in 4 2/3 innings. His bread and butter is a sinking fastball, but lately Alvarez hasn't been able to keep the ball down and he's paying the price. Prior to Saturday's game, Walton was catching Alvarez who was throwing to him from 60 feet on flat ground, not in the bullpen.

"Over the course of the season, the wear and tear of throwing downhill, we don't throw downhill all the time," Walton explained. "So we're doing our sides on flat ground now."

Walton said the side session was a refresher course for Alvarez who, like Romero, is having some minor mechanical issues.

"He's elevating because his arm is late," Walton said of Alvarez' problem. "There is a lot of things that go wrong with your arm being late. One is maybe turning too much (as Alvarez does in his twisting delivery) and turning too quickly back to home plate and your arm drags.

"Number two is the wear and tear of the season. You know the arm isn't as quick now as it was in May. It does slow down a bit and it seems like August is a grind for pitchers. You see it all around the league and then you see them catch their second wind in September.

"So, we're going through that stage with Henderson a bit where his arm isn't as quick as it was earlier in the season. He really has to be mechanically sound so his hand can get in front so he can execute pitches. Right now. we're doing a couple of cheat things where he isn't turning as much so the arm isn't late."


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