Friday, May 31, 2013

Updates on Smoral, Sanchez, and Osuna

   Thanks to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, there is some good news/bad news regarding the progress of three prized injured Jays' pitching prospects.
   Smoral, the 6'8" lefthander who was a sandwich round pick (thanks, Frank Francisco) in 2012, dropped in the draft because of a foot injury, and concerns that he was college bound.  In other words, a good fit with the Jays' high-risk, high-reward draft strategy.  Smoral sat out the entire 2012 season while he recovered from surgery to correct the problem, which had dogged him since his junior year in high school.  Jays pitching instructor Pat Hentgen came away from watching Smoral throw in a bullpen session at extended spring training highly impressed.  "Sometimes when you stand behind the pitcher, the ball looks small," he told Davidi.  "Smoral (has) that bb effect, where the ball just looks small."
   Smoral will likely open the year in a few weeks with the Gulf Coast Jays in the complex rookie ball league.  If all goes well, a mid-season promotion to Bluefield in the higher rookie league Appalachian League will likely be in the works.
   Righthander Aaron Sanchez, the Jays' first round choice in 2012, and Clutchlings' top-ranked prospect, was placed on the minor league 7-day disabled list earlier this month, is doing well, according to GM Alex Anthopolous.  Anthopolous told Davidi that Sanchez "feels great, he doesn't have any pain, any soreness, so he should get going here soon."  Sanchez, in 9 starts with High A Dunedin, is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA.  In 42 innings, Sanchez has allowed 25 hits, and 16 walks, with 37 strikeouts.  Florida State League hitters are batting .166 against him.
   Placing Sanchez on the DL was likely a precaution by the Jays, who monitor their lower level prospects' pitch counts and innings closely. Some suggest that Sanchez is just going through a "dead arm" period.  The Jays aren't taking any chances, just the same.
   Osuna, Clutchlings' #3 prospect, was also shut down earlier this month.The 18 year-old Mexican righthander is one of the youngest players in the Midwest League this year, and isn't even of draft age until next year.  Osuna was sent from Lansing back to extended spring training after being placed on the DL, with a program of rest and light throwing prescribed to try to rehabilitate his ulnar collateral ligament, which was torn as indicated by an MRI.  Facing the prospect of Tommy John surgery, Osuna has started throwing again, but hasn't faced live hitters, and there are no plans for him to do so.  Osuna is 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA with Lansing this season, striking out 31 and only walking 4 in 22 innings.  If he proceeds with the surgery, Osuna likely won't return to action until the 2015 season.
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