So here's where it's gonna get interesting.
Since Spring Training, when B.J. Ryan spent much of his time putting radar guns to sleep with his diminished velocity, we've been pretty much examining and scrutinizing every pitch of every outing from the hulking lefty.
With his return to the big club after having nursed his "injury" back to health, we'll be given to opportunity to not only pore over all of the Pitch F/X data for Ryan in the coming weeks, but we'll also be watching for every misstep or misplaced pitch from the Beej's replacement in the closer role, Scott Downs.
(Okay, so we won't be looking at those data sets, but someone will, and we'll just repeat whatever they say as though we know what we're talking about. We call this the Tothian Method.)
While Cito is loathe to touch his batting orders (even if it meant doing something completely reasonable like hitting Aaron Hill third and Adam Lind fourth), he seems a lot more likely to yank his bullpen roles around. Should Scott Downs post a couple of weaker outings and if B.J.'s allegedly slower delivery helps him return to form, we could see the closer role changing hands multiple times throughout the rest of the season.
Look who else is back
As we were glancng through the pitching stats from the Dunedin Blue Jays to see how the Beej did in his brief stay in sunny Florida, we noticed another recognizable name amongst the D-Jays' pitching staff: Chris Michalak.
It seems like just yesterday that Michalak came out of nowhere as an aging rookie to make the Jays pitching rotation in 2001 and lead the team in wins through April.
(Hmmm. That story sounds awfully familiar.)
Our most vivd memory of Michalak was of his wicked pick off move to first base, and the game in which then-Yankees skipper Joe Torre got into the upmire's heads about his move to first. Within a month, it seemed as though the umpires were onto him, and he was called for balks in three straight starts.
By the end of the season, Michalak had been dropped from the rotation, then shipped off to Texas. And while we're not wishing a similar fate on Scott Richmond, it's worth remembering that these feel-good tales of overcoming the odds sometimes don't last much longer than the time it takes to spin them.