02/23/12 4:03 PM EST
Rasmus arrives; nearly entire club in camp
Escobar, Encarnacion expected to join teammates Friday
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Rasmus arrived at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin late Thursday morning and made the rounds in the clubhouse to greet all of his teammates. He didn't take part in the team workout earlier in the day, but will begin his daily baseball activities on Friday.
The 25-year-old will be looking to rebound from a tumultuous 2011 season that saw him post a .225 average with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs in 129 games with St. Louis and Toronto.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion are now the only two remaining players who are expected to make the Opening Day roster but have not yet reported to camp. Prospects David Cooper and Mike McDade also haven't reported, but everyone is expected to arrive in time for Friday's physicals.
Toronto manager John Farrell didn't seem remotely concerned that were still a few players who hadn't reported one day in advance of the deadline.
"Not at all," Farrell said. "The time needed for position players to get ready for the start of the season [isn't the same as pitchers]. ... The fact that we have a good number of guys report early I think is a great thing. But I think the fact that we've still got a few players to report, no. We're fully anticipating them here [Friday]."
Toronto will have a total of 65 players in camp on Friday. The group includes 34 pitchers (14 non-roster), seven catchers (four non-roster), 15 infielders (five non-roster) and nine outfielders (two non-roster).
The majority of players arrived in Florida late last week and by Tuesday, almost the entire roster was in uniform.
"There's a lot of enthusiasm in here," Farrell said. "And just hearing the conversations between players, it's all upbeat, it's all positive. It is laced with that optimism that is genuine and for right reasons, for legitimate reasons, of the talent, the youth and the athleticism and guys that are eager to get things going.
"But we've still got the appropriate days in advance of our first game that we're going to get the right amount of work in and guys will be ready to go at that time."
Cecil held out of workouts due to migraine
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil was held out of morning workouts on Thursday because of a migraine headache.
Cecil arrived at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium feeling under the weather and the club opted to give him the morning off for precautionary reasons.
The 25-year-old went onto the field shortly after noon local time to go through a light throwing program with pitching coach Bruce Walton. The club wanted to ensure he got at least a little bit of work in to keep up with his throwing program.
"He has been dealing with a bit of a migraine," Toronto manager John Farrell said late in the morning. "We held him out of the early work to give him a chance to clear up ... That was the reason he wasn't out there."
Cecil went 4-11 with a 4.73 ERA in 123 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays last season. He dropped 32 pounds during the offseason and will be looking to regain his form from 2010 that saw him lead the team with 15 wins.
Vizquel says 24th year in pro ball likely his last
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Omar Vizquel has been a mainstay in the Major Leagues since 1989, but his 24th season is expected to be his last one as a player in professional baseball.
Vizquel joined the Blue Jays during the offseason on a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training. He is competing against Mike McCoy and Luis Valbuena for a utility infielder spot, and appears to be the early favorite for the job.
The 11-time Gold Glove winner has been around for so long that he once played at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, which closed its doors in the late 1980s, before Rogers Centre was built. Vizquel has enjoyed an illustrious career, but admits it's one that also is nearing an end.
"This will likely be my last year," Vizquel told reporters on Thursday morning at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
"My motivation is to challenge myself to play another year. I know every year it starts to get a little harder for yourself and it's always a challenge to be on a Major League team at an older age. I think as long as time has been going by, I feel more pride of the things I have accomplished in my career."
Vizquel hit .251 with eight RBIs and 18 runs scored in 167 at-bats last season with the White Sox. He is just 159 hits shy of 3,000, and while he's honored to be so close to that milestone, he does not believe it's an achievable goal at this point in his career.