FIREPILE...

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FIREPILE...



Well, if bonfires expect to keep you warm on the chilliest nights of summer that prevent you from getting too close the fire of hurlers, I guess that's a good thing. What I mean by a "fire of hurlers" is the Blue Jays' mounting number of pitchers on the disabled list. What I really mean to say is that Scott Richmond is the latest starter to assemble himself as the seventh accord in the infamous GROUP OF SEVEN (Litsch, Marcum, McGowan, Janssen, Ray, Downs, and now Richmond).

Richmond will miss the rest of the first half with bicep tendinitis, and hopes to return after the all-star break. Just like Romero, Richmond had a lingering injury that he could pitch through, but the 29-year old towering canuck could not take the chance of pitching two more ballgames and then having to shut it down for the rest of the season. In Richmond's place will be Brett Cecil making an emergency start. Cecil has been both good and bad this season, and will now have a permanent opportunity for I would say, at the very least, a month, to solidify his role as a pitcher on this team.

However, there was good news mixed in with the bad- It appears that Shaun Marcum is expected to start his first game of the 2009 season in the minor leagues in Class-A Dunedin tommorrow! If Marcum could continue his improbable shorter-than-expected road to recovery by August, perhaps he could be the shot in the arm the Jays desperately need as they continue to fade in the American League East, now 11 games under .500 since a 27-14 start that has turned fans from saying that the team was just struggling a bit in the advent of a 9-game losing streak to full out panic mode at 42-40 and six games out of a playoff spot, now that the halfway mark has passed.

"Just average", says skipper Cito Gaston who can't be pleased with his club's play as of late, even with perennial Cy Young candidate Roy Halladay struggling since his recent stint on the DL. Even with all the pitching injuries, because the offense just hasn't continued to produce.

Still, if the Jays have any hope of contending, it'll have to be the bat of Rios and Wells that must warm up, and the continued tear of Rolen's eye-popping 21-game hitting streak that has seen the 34-year old 7-time gold glove winner re-ignite his passion for baseball in more ways than a sophmore ever could, along with Scooter's continued production in the leadoff role, and last, but not least, the twin bombers Hill and Lind to continue hitting homeruns.

And here's a writer who believes the Jays still have quite a good chance, and with the trade deadline approaching in the month of July, one would hope the Jays would act as buyers and get a good left-handed bat that can make an immediate impact on the lineup. Or as some have suggested, why not give Randy Ruiz a try? (.300+ average, 15 HR+, 50 RBI+ in triple-A). Because if the first two games of this series has been any indication of what David Dellucci can do, the 35-year old might just get released once more. After all, there's a reason you get released when you're hitting .275. While he's an upgrade over former culprits Mench and Wilkerson, it's still far from being enough. I've had it with the temporary stop-gaps since Travis Snider's demotion to Triple-A- first with Joe Inglett, second with Russ Adams, and now third with the latter.

Maybe the third guy proves me wrong today, but hey, GO BRETT CECIL! I have no problem still cheering on the youngest guy in the rotation, the unproven one. Seems like the dormant volcano's about to erupt, and it's on you to stop it from the lava flowing. No pressure, really....
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