04/04/12 4:55 PM ET
Romero expects big things from Blue Jays
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
"I'm not trying to make it seem like we're on top of the world, because we're not," Romero said on Wednesday, the eve of his club's season opener in Cleveland at 3:05 p.m. ET. "We still have a lot of work to do, and we understand that. [But] this team is building that swagger that, in the past, we really didn't have. That's what you play for. You play to win."
Toronto captured baseball's best Spring Training record on the heels of an 81-81 season in 2011. Romero doesn't think that improvement is a coincidence, even if it occurred in exhibition games. The southpaw said anything less than a trip to the postseason would be a disappointment.
"If we don't win," Romero said, "we're going to be sitting in October, scratching our heads, wondering what happened."
Confidence is one thing. Production is another.
"Our win-loss record is not going to hinge on the confidence that we have," manager John Farrell said. "It's going to hinge on the talent and the capabilities of the players. I like our team. I like our roster. I think we're capable of doing a number of things."
Farrell has faith in inexperienced rotation
CLEVELAND -- John Farrell knows there are questions about the Blue Jays' starting rotation.
But even without the services of Dustin McGowan, who is on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis, and Brett Cecil, who was optioned to Double-A to start the season, Toronto's skipper remains confident in his hurlers.
The Blue Jays will start the season with Joel Carreno, Kyle Drabek and Henderson Alvarez at the back of their rotation. The three have combined for 27 career starts.
W: Perez (1-0) L: Asencio (0-1)
"[The rotation] is young and it is inexperienced, but we like the talent and potential that exists," Farrell said on Wednesday, the eve of his club's season opener in Cleveland at 3:05 p.m. ET. "They have good stuff. It's going to be a matter of going out and executing, and I know that can be cliche, but we'll take our chances with the stuff that they all throw over the plate."
Farrell expects Cecil to return and provide a boost to the group at some point.
"He'll be back," Farrell said. "He needs a few more starts to gain a consistent command."
Farrell said the order of the rotation beyond ace Ricky Romero and No. 2 starter Brandon Morrow is not important.
"We just wanted to keep things in order as it was," Farrell said. "We're not pinned in to any set day going forward after Game 6. We're likely to go back to a four-man rotation, so everyone is an option to be in those first four slots. So, No. 3 or No. 5, there's not a whole lot of difference in our minds."
Blue Jays eager to turn lineup loose
CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays got a taste of their lineup's potential during the latter stages of the 2011 campaign. Now they're eager to see what it can produce over the course of an entire year.
Toronto acquired outfielder Colby Rasmus and second baseman Kelly Johnson in trades last summer. The team also handed third baseman Brett Lawrie his first 150 big league at-bats.
Manager John Farrell has high hopes for his batting order.
"I think we have a very real ability to increase upon what we did last year," Farrell said on Wednesday, the eve of his club's season opener in Cleveland at 3:05 p.m. ET, "and that's with a full year of Lawrie and some other guys. I don't think it's solely reliant on guys having career years. If they go out and perform to their capabilities, we've got a deep lineup."
The Blue Jays' offense helped lift the club to the league's best Spring Training record (24-7).
"I feel like this team has a lot to offer this year," said Omar Vizquel, who earned a roster spot as a 44-year-old utility infielder. "The numbers that we put up in Spring Training were real. We can't wait to get it started."