03/25/07 5:00 PM ET
Notes: League headed to Syracuse
Reliever needs more time to regain fastball's velocity
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
League, who had a 2.53 ERA for Toronto last year, has been back on a mound for the last three weeks and appeared in a few Minor League games. His velocity remains between 88-91 mph, though, and the Jays now have him working with a long-toss program. On Sunday, League didn't sound too confident that he'd be able to sling 95-97 mph fastballs regularly in the near future."I don't know if I want to say that," said League, "but I'm sure I will be throwing hard." Back on the hill: One more outing is apparently all B.J. Ryan needs. After witnessing Ryan's strong bullpen session on Sunday, Jays manager John Gibbons said the closer will make his next Grapefruit League appearance in Toronto's last game of the spring on Saturday "He threw very, very good," Gibbons said. "He'll pitch that final game here, and then he'll be ready to go. [Closers] generally don't get a lot of innings in [the spring] anyway. You try to save those guys. They're established guys, and it doesn't take them long." Ryan, who hasn't pitched in a game since March 11 due to a sore lower back, will take the day off from throwing on Monday. The left-hander will pitch in a second bullpen session on Tuesday, followed by an appearance in a Minor League game on Thursday. Gibbons said Ryan, who had 38 saves for the Jays in 2006, threw mainly fastballs but also "spun a few sliders" in the mound session on Sunday. Gibbons has expressed no concern about Ryan's availability for Opening Day. Contingency plan: With League officially out of the picture, the Blue Jays aren't sure who will be their eighth-inning setup man. Ricciardi named pitchers Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Shaun Marcum as potential late-inning options. Toronto's GM added that Casey Janssen was also in the mix for a job. "I don't think it's that big of a setback," Ricciardi said. "We saw [that League wasn't right] on the first day, so we've been preparing for this." Gonzalez to start Right-hander Geremi Gonzalez is scheduled to start against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and will probably pitch three or four innings. Toronto ace Roy Halladay would've made that start, but he'll pitch in a Minor League game because he's set to face the Devil Rays on April 7 -- his second start of the regular season. Missing persons: Blue Jays bench coach Ernie Whitt has been at his home in Michigan for the past few days to be with his wife, Chris, who recently had surgery. Gibbons said Whitt should be back with the team on Monday. ... Right fielder Alex Rios, who went home to Puerto Rico to be with his family at the funeral for his grandfather, is expected to rejoin the Jays in Florida on Monday, too. Quotable: "We've been trying to do the same thing for the past four years -- trying to continue it this spring, trying to refresh my memory and refresh my body mechanics." -- League, on trying to pitch from a higher arm slot Coming up: Toronto right-hander Josh Towers (1-0, 4.61 ERA) is scheduled to start when the Blue Jays take on the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.