MILWAUKEE -- With the plan of attack on the mound for the Blue Jays up in the air with recent injuries to three starters -- Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek -- the team's bullpen has been forced to prepare for anything.But according to right-hander Carlos Villanueva, he and his fellow relievers have the easy job. "It's something you can't control," Villanueva said. "Because we've had such sudden injuries, that really puts the jam on the whole front office. You can't replace three of your starters in a day.
"I understand how difficult their job is, too, so we have to be understanding sometimes as to what they go through. Whatever they do, they're going to do what's best for the team, and at the end of the day, that's what matters."Manager John Farrell confirmed that Wednesday's game against the Brewers would be a "bullpen day," but as of the first pitch on Tuesday, Farrell still didn't know who was going to start.
That decision was contingent on how deep Tuesday's starter Jesse Chavez went and which relievers were needed to finish the game. Villanueva said he doesn't care what Farrell and the other coaches ask of him, including a possible start."For me, starting in the first inning, I prepare the same way," Villanueva said. "I'm not very different. I'm not going to be all quiet and focused because you know what, if you want me to throw the ball, I told them, 'Give me the ball and I'll start.'
"It's not that big of a deal to me. I'll prepare myself, go over the lineup and let's do it. I've been doing this for a while now. I understand what I can do, and if I'm out there, hopefully the team knows they have a good chance of winning the ballgame, and that's all I care about."Villanueva, who entered Tuesday with a 3.48 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 31 innings, previously spent five seasons in Milwaukee. There, he made his mark as a flexible pitcher who could throw five innings or close out a game.
He also said he learned from former Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman to respect the game and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, no matter the capacity. That lesson is something he's shared with his new team and bullpen mates, and is important to remember as the Blue Jays work through their injury issues."I wouldn't want to hear anybody being selfish or complaining, because I'll be the first to guy to make sure that they shut their mouth," Villanueva said. "We work together as a unit, and we go out there and prepare and we do whatever we have to do complete the game whatever way we can."
Blue Jays turn to YouTube for game prep
MILWAUKEE -- Although the Blue Jays knew on Monday they wouldn't be facing former Toronto pitcher Shaun Marcum on Tuesday because of an injury, it wasn't until just hours before the second game of the series that they found out the Brewers were sending Double-A prospect Tyler Thornburg to the mound.For the Blue Jays, that didn't seem to matter much. Expecting to face a pitcher he hadn't seen before anyway, second baseman Kelly Johnson said there wasn't much he and his fellow hitters could do to prepare. And with Thornburg coming from Double-A Huntsville, the amount of video on him to study was limited. So Toronto got a little creative. When Johnson asked advanced scouting and video coordinator Brian Abraham if he had any film on Thornburg, he responded: "I have some stuff. YouTube." "YouTube sometimes will work for us," Johnson said with a smile. "That's what we got." Outside of some clips from the Internet, Johnson said the only ways to prepare for a new pitcher such as Thornburg is to talk to an acquaintance who has played him and read the scouting report, which according to manager John Farrell, indicates that Thornburg is an aggressive pitcher with three pitches that have brought him success in the Minors.
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"Otherwise, maybe you take some pitches. I think everybody's a little different. It just depends on how you feel and what you're seeing."
Hutchison gets second opinion on elbow
MILWAUKEE -- After Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison met with Dr. Tim Kremchek in Cincinnati for a second opinion on his injured right elbow, manager John Farrell said there was no new news to report."The evaluation with Dr. Kremchek came back and was consistent with the sprain that was discovered with the first test in Toronto," Farrell said. "[Hutchinson has] taken that information. He's also gone back to Florida and reported back to Dunedin.
"He's going to go through some additional testing with our doctors in Florida, and then at that point, he'll take all the information gathered, sit down with his family and determine the next plan of action."That next plan of action could include Tommy John surgery, which fellow starter Kyle Drabek had done by Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday. "I'm not saying that's completely ruled out," Farrell said. "But I think at this point, he probably needs another day or two to work through some things on his own behalf and certainly discuss some things with his family."
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he wouldn't rule out possibly fast-tracking a pitcher or two from the Minors, with the recent string of injuries to the rotation. In particular, he mentioned right-handers Deck McGuire and Chad Jenkins from Double-A New Hampshire."I'll tell you this, if needs continue to arise because of unfortunate circumstances, we maybe just put ourselves in a position and say, 'You know what, let's give them the ball, give them an opportunity and see how he fares,'" Farrell said.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.