08/20/2002 7:00 pm ET
MLBeat: Good news on Heredia
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays got some positive news on the injury front on Tuesday.
Felix Heredia, who sprained his ankle last week, is ready to return to active duty. Ten of his last 11 outings have been scoreless, so Heredia's presence could make a sizable impact.
Originally, Toronto manager
Carlos Tosca said that he wanted to exercise caution, because Heredia's landing foot was the one that was injured. A few days of rest did the trick, though, and Heredia was able to throw a bullpen session without incident on Monday.
"Heredia's fine. We warmed him up last night," Tosca said. "He's ready to go."
That brings a tidy conclusion to a bizarre injury. Heredia didn't hurt himself at the ballpark. Instead, he turned his ankle when he was getting out of the shuttle back to the hotel.
Now, he comes back at a time when his team sorely needs his presence.
Justin Miller, Tuesday night's starter, will be limited to a strict count of 60 pitches. Tosca said that would protect Miller's arm, since it's been quite some time since his last start.
"He's got 60 pitches -- however far that takes him," Tosca said. "I think it was three weeks ago, the last time he's thrown for any length of time."
Citing the amount of southpaws in
Kansas City's lineup, Tosca predicted that he would go to
Mark Hendrickson as one of the first men out of the bullpen. Still, there is a very good chance that Heredia will see some action.
Carlos Delgado's rehabilitation is continuing, but with caution. The slugging first baseman, out with a back injury, will "go to tolerance." Tosca said that means that Delgado will proceed with his exercises, but only if he feels comfortable.
"If he doesn't feel pain, he can continue progressing with the program that he's on," Tosca said.
In recent days, Delgado has been able to take batting practice and field ground balls, two of the key ingredients in getting him back on the field. Originally, the estimate called for him to return this weekend, during the team's trip to Baltimore. He's eligible to come off the DL on Saturday, but it's unclear whether he'll be able to do so.
Interesting article: Michael Wolverton of Baseball Prospectus recently wrote an article breaking down which teams are most efficient on the base paths.
Simply put, he tried to analyze which teams gave away the most and least outs on baserunning mistakes. As a companion stat, he also tried to figure out which teams wasted runs most often.
Toronto fared well in both stats. By Wolverton's calculations, the Blue Jays gave up the second fewest outs in the Major Leagues, and they cost themselves the second-least amount of runs. Tosca said he read that article, and he talked about it at length in his pregame media briefing.
"I think there's some validity to it, but I also think you can use numbers to say whatever you want them to say," Tosca said. "You don't know who the pitchers were in a lot of those games. If you're facing a guy like
Paul Byrd, if you're facing a guy like
Roger Clemens, if you're facing a guy like
Pedro Martinez, you've got to push the envelope against those guys."
In short, he went on to say that there are just too many factors to take into account. Among them: the composition of a given team's lineup, the opponent's outfield arm strength, the specific conditions of
a baseball situation. He didn't quibble with the end results, but he didn't think it was something you could boil down to sheer numbers.
"There's a lot of other variables in there that you have to take into consideration," he said. "I'm glad that we are where we are, and I think we have one of the best third base coaches in the league."
Brian Lesher entered Tuesday's game hitless in his last 22 at-bats. After
grounding out in his first at-bat, Lesher reached on an infield single, ending
his drought at 0-for-23. He has had one longer drought in his career, an 0-for-26 stretch in 1997.
Spencer Fordin, who covers the Blue Jays for MLB.com, can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.