DETROIT – Pat Hentgen isnt traveling with the Blue Jays this season, having ceded his role as bullpen coach to Bob Stanley in order to spend time with his ailing father, but his eyes light up at the mention of the ballclub. "You know I watch every single game, right?" He once again holds the title of special assistant to the organization, which affords Hentgen the opportunity to rove through the minor league system. Hes at home a lot, he needs to be with his dad battling cancer, but he may as well be at the field with the way he scrutinizes each development. "Buehrles great start right off the top, 10-1 is huge, it reminds you of what Buchholz did last year for the Red Sox," said Hentgen. "On top of that, Dickeys solid. Hutch is solid. The starting rotations been pretty solid overall so I think thats been a big difference." The statistics back Hentgen up. How many times did you hear general manager Alex Anthopoulos say, last year, no team that ranks in the bottom five in starting staff ERA has a chance to compete? The answer: more than a few times. The Blue Jays starters ERA of 3.77 ranks 14th in baseball and is the best in the American League East. Last year, only the Minnesota Twins had a worse staff ERA than Torontos. Rare was the occasion last season, when Hentgen presided over the disappointing clubs bullpen, its greatest strength, its best players were on the field at the same time. Brett Lawrie missed the start of the season with a strained oblique. Jose Reyes rolled his ankle in the second week of the season and Lawrie, back from the oblique, did the same in late May. The two werent on the field together until after the All-Star Break and by then, it didnt matter because the Jays were out of the race. Now, Lawrie is the key to manager John Gibbons rotation which features Juan Francisco at third base against right-handed starting pitching and Steve Tolleson at second base against left-handers. Lawrie fills the positional void on the infield. "I like the fact that theyre getting platoons because sometimes those guys need the rest," said Hentgen. "When you run the same nine guys out there every single day, its not easy for the position players, especially on our turf. The rotation of the designated hitters is a nice move." Blue Jays fans old enough to remember Hentgens heyday will recall his nasty, looping curveball. Naturally, Hentgens impressed with 23-year-old rookie Marcus Stroman. "He really spins the ball well, really well actually," said Hentgen. "I think hes got multiple looks with his breaking ball. He can curve it, he can slide it, he can cut it, you know, talented guy. I think hes just got to focus on staying on top of the ball and driving the ball down with his fastball, especially when hes behind in the count. Hes got great stuff and hes a hell of a competitor." What about adjustments? Stroman made the likes of Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler look silly on two-strike curveballs last Saturday. Stroman will start Friday nights opener against St. Louis and surely, the Cardinals will have a better book on the young righthander. "Second time through the league, you have to make an adjustment as a pitcher because the hitters will and I think that he will," said Hentgen. "Hes athletic enough and hes good enough. Hes just a young guy whos trying to get his feet wet here and get established. Hes got a great start under his belt already and probably looking forward to his next start here. I think he shouldnt change a thing. He should go at St. Louis like he just did against Kansas City." Hentgen isnt trying to split the atom with his analysis of the current Blue Jays. Continued good health, he believes, is the key. "The starting pitchers have got to stay healthy," said Hentgen. "The key relievers, the core guys out there, they have to stay healthy and obviously the position players. We saw what happened last year when we lost Reyes and Lawrie and Jose (Bautista). Its not easy when you lose three-fifths of your rotation and three of your position players." Encarnacions Special Month Edwin Encarnacion is the American League Player of the Month for May, the first time in his career hes been awarded the honour. "Its a lot more special for me because the way weve been playing, weve been winning games so thats the more important thing for me and my teammates," said Encarnacion. "Its nothing about just myself. Its just something that we want to play like a team and win like the way weve been doing so thats made it more special." The numbers dont lie. Encarnacions 16 home runs in May set a Blue Jays franchise mark for a single month; he became only the third player in major league history to have five multi-home run games in a single month (Harmon Killebrew – May, 1959 and Albert Belle – September, 1995). He led the league with a .763 slugging percentage and 22 extra-base hits. Encarnacion is also putting together a strong season at first base. "I feel very proud about my defence," said Encarnacion. "I worked very hard during the offseason. Its something you have to do great. If you dont play good defence, you cant win games." Lineup Construction When the Blue Jays face a right-handed starting pitcher, Adam Lind and Juan Francisco are in the lineup. Manager John Gibbons has, typically, employed two different middle-of-the-order constructs in these situations. 3. Bautista4. Lind5. Encarnacion6. Francisco Or 3. Bautista4. Encarnacion5. Lind6. Lawrie7. Francisco Gibbons picked the latter for Tuesdays game against Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez. "Weve bounced them back and forth a couple of times," said Gibbons. "Tonight, Im looking at Eddie. You know, Sanchez has been tough on Francisco. Hes got the good breaking ball and good off-speed stuff so space them out a little bit." Gibbons went with the first lineup on Sunday, a 4-0 win over the Royals and right-hander Jeremy Guthrie. "The other day against Guthrie, I mean Francisco had three home runs off him in six at-bats," said Gibbons. "I just look at the pitcher were facing, this guy can maybe give him trouble, maybe thats the case, protect Eddie with Lindy there instead." Injury Updates Colby Rasmus is rehabbing his injured right hamstring in Dunedin, Florida without a timeline for his return to the Blue Jays. His skipper hasnt received any updates of late. "No," said manager John Gibbons. "When I do, Ill let you know." Rasmus has been on the disabled list since May 13. The word is hes progressing toward getting into game action. As for Sergio Santos, out since May 10 with a strained right forearm, hes scheduled to throw a bullpen session at Comerica Park on Thursday. If that goes well, hell throw another bullpen session in Toronto on Sunday. If that goes well, Santos expects to join the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons on a rehabilitation assignment next week. Salomon Shoes Outlet Free Shipping . Vargas (8-3) allowed four singles and two walks while striking out five, allowing only two runners from a diluted Twins lineup to reach second base. Mike Moustakas and Jarrod Dyson hit RBI singles in the second inning against Kevin Correia (4-10), and that was all Vargas needed. Wholesale Salomon Shoes . Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane came up big when it counted, tallying two goals and an assist. He scored the game-winner with 4:45 remaining in the third period, stopping on the right hashmarks, carrying the puck up through the top of the Kings zone, then firing a wrist shot from the top of the circles past Jonathan Quick, who had his view obstructed by Andrew Shaw. http://www.salomonoutletstore.com/. -- Slugger Jose Abreu, All-Star left-hander Chris Sale and closer Matt Lindstrom are on the disabled list. Cheap Salomon Shoes Outlet . Now Arizonas new manager is hoping Yasmany Tomas can have the same effect on the Diamondbacks. Buy Salomon Shoes Outlet . Or, for that matter, the aged.The manager walked into the press conference dressed in the most outlandish looking shiny nylon red jacket. Carrying of all things a squash racket. "He seemed more anxious to talk about squash than his record deal," was how the BBC described the moment. Not bothering to sit down, perhaps he was already late for the squash court, the man dubbed as the greatest manager England never had addressed his audience. An immediate hush descended over the room. "He has all the equipment needed to be a highly successful player thats why we have invested £1,000,000 of Nottingham Forests money." The historic seven-figure transfer fee had been breached. February 9th, 1979 was the day English football welcomed its very first £1 million player, when Trevor Francis moved the short distance from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest. Deal brokered by Brian Clough esquire. No hair dryer required. The mavericks maverick. "Is there any formula you want him to fit into?" a member of the media brassily inquired. "No, no, no. We have no formula here apart from success." Clough immediately retorted. He wasnt kidding. Id like to see José Mourinho take over a team languishing in mid-table mediocrity in the Championship, guide them to the pinnacle of English football and win the BPL at the very first time of asking. As an encore? Win the European Cup the following season, knocking the holders out in the first round. The first question asked of Trevor Francis at his unveiling was if he felt any burden by becoming that million pound man. Clough had taken care of that by always claiming the fee was only £999,999. The actual total figure with taxes and fees worked out at £1,180,000. This though was no shirt wearing, badge kissing moment. Photo ops didnt fit with the times. In any case Nottingham Forest didnt sign a shirt sponsor until 2 years later. Francis though did arrive to the lunch time announcement with his fur coat wearing WAG. That was about as Hollywood as the occasion got. Contrast this to where we are today as the €100m Gareth Bale to Real Madrid cliff hanger looks set to go down to the deadline day wire. Fully aware in this social media driven era football now resides in which confidentiality is the opportunity cost - Madrid brazenly erected a stage inside their stadium in which it is expected Bale will be unveiled from. Jutting out from the sacred directors box of Estadio Bernabeu where the original Los Blancos legend Alfredo Di Stéfano anoints each new arrival, the stage that was put up shortly after Madrid opened up their campaign with the 2-1 victory August 18th against Betis, looks like it will have to be ripped down. No not beccause Bale isnt eventually going to get his shirt wearing, badge kissing moment.dddddddddddd The little matter of a home La Liga date on Sunday is appearing rather ominously on Madrids immediate horizon. A mighty embarrassing moment for President Perez and all concerned at the home of world footballs biggest revenue generators. Perhaps Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy will oblige and pick up the demolition and reconstruction costs. Bale, who by all accounts yesterday afternoon was out shopping in one of Londons smarter looking shopping districts. Cristiano will be so proud of you Gareth, especially for that pink t-shirt and matching baseball cap get up that was flashed around Twitter. Now if you think Madrids courtship of Bale, the soon to be anointed GB11, seems to have gone on far longer than Tolstoys War and Peace then you better think again. Brian Cloughs assistant Peter Taylor revealed at Francis unveiling - which occurred around what could be best described as a mid-priced ranged coffee table - Nottingham Forest had initially reached out to Birmingham City a full eight years before finally landing their million pound man. Remind me again, how long before the transfer window closes. Please no extensions Mr. Platini, especially so for your old mate Arsene. The UEFA President himself was drawn into the sorry mess at yesterdays Champions League group stage draw. Where he rather prophetically stated, "Today a player is more a product than a footballer with a whole pile of people trying to get commissions. I think we and FIFA should think about that and find something more healthy." Whenever we finally get to eclipse that €100m moment the soft spoken Bale is sure to be asked if his slender frame feels the weight of such an obnoxious sum. Dont answer. What matters is what Bale does on the pitch and not necessarily on that world famous manicured one that adorns the Spanish capital. If Bale can achieve what Trevor Francis did within months of signing for Forest then all will be forgotten. Even Cristiano will forgive you for eclipsing his £80m word record sum. Thats presuming hes not back home to Old Trafford Tuesday morning for €100m and €1. It was May 30th, 1979 the occasion the European Cup Final. Not even four months after signing for Forest who should pop up at the far post in first half added time with the diving header? You guessed it, Trevor Francis. The lone goal of the game, and with it Forest crowned European Champions. No badge kissing. Just a 25-year old footballer doing what he loved doing best - scoring goals, not gals. Over to you Gareth, No pressure then mate. You can reach and follow Noel Butler at: Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca @TheSoccerNoel Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Wholesale Discount Basketball Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Baseball Jerseys Free Shipping Cheapest College Jerseys Sale Cheap Football Jerseys China Nike NFL Jerseys Canada Wholesale NHL Jerseys From China MLB Jerseys Outlet Canada Wholesale NBA Jerseys Canada Store Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Cheap Authentic Jerseys Canada ' ' '
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