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Letters of Intent
By Andrew Hendriks
This club is hexed!
The hits just keep coming for the Toronto Blue Jays who, in addition to losing outfielder,Kevin Pillar to a strained oblique muscle, will now be without utility infielder, Ramon Santiago as the switch hitting veteran suffered a substantial injury during grapefruit league play, Sunday.
Playing second base at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in LakeBuena Vista, Santiago dove to his right en route to robbing Braves catcher, A.J. Pierzynski of a bloop single in the bottom of the first inning.
Although he was able to record the out in spectacular fashion, the play resulted in a broken left collarbone for the 35 year-old journeyman, effectively ending his spring upon impact.
Signed to a minor league deal earlier this winter, Santiago was initially brought in to provide an added element of competition this spring with regards to Toronto’s second base position in 2015, and in a sample sized 16 plate appearances this March, the former Detroit Tiger had notched a .417 batting average, tops for all infielders on the club.
At the time of the injury, Santiago had been entrenched in a four man battle between,Ryan Goins, Maicer Izturis and Devon Travis as club officials looked to supplement both the teams starting lineup and bench ahead of opening day in New York.
Although impressive early on this spring, Izturis was limited to 11 games last year as a season ending knee injury kept him out of the Blue Jays lineup for the majority of 2014. His replacement, Goins, struggled with the bat knocking only 34 hits in 193 plate appearances and spent the majority of the season splitting time between Toronto and triple-A Buffalo.
Understanding a distinct area of need within the Blue Jays system, general managerAlex Anthopolous traded outfielder Anthony Gose for Travis who, prior to the trade had been ranked as Detroit’s No. 1 prospect by Baseball America.
Joining the Blue Jays with a reputation of being strong offensively, Travis has yet to play a game above double-A and will likely start the year in Buffalo as the 24 year-old gains additional experience.
If either Goins or Izturis were to have faltered out of the gate in 2015, Santiago, who in addition to adding a veteran presence, would have provided a quality stop gap until Travis was deemed ready for his big league debut.
Sadly, that insurance policy is now out of the question as this untimely collarbone injury has put an end to that train of thought.
For Anthopolous, it time to go back to the drawing board.
As rosters begin to contact, those who are left option-less will start to become available between now and the end of spring training… Think Todd Redmond, a right handed pitcher who was acquired by the Jays at the end of spring training, circa 2013.
— Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)