Back in spring training, the Blue Jays seemed poised to make it a three-team race in the AL East. They'd added another powerful bat and pillow-fighter nonpareil in Frank Thomas, and A.J. Burnett was ready to rebound from a mediocre 2006.
But even then, there were cracks in the armor, which GM J.P. Ricciardi admits to covering up. Specifically, the injury to closer B.J. Ryan.
Ryan's currently on the 60-day DL with a strained ligament in his elbow. But it turns out that Ryan's elbow woes were first apparent during spring training, prompting the Jays to shut him down for two weeks. Only then, the club said the problem was his lower back, a move Ricciardi defended as protecting Ryan from media scrutiny.
"We didn't want the media to bother Ryan every day asking him 'How's your elbow? How are you feeling? Are you going to throw today? Are you feeling good?' " Ricciardi said. "And it's the first thing we've ever kept from you guys."
Not surprising, the Jays are reeling without their 47 million dollar man in the pen, having a tough time holding down leads and currently enduring a four-game skid.
But if you're the sort who likes to look on the bright side of life, consider this: Sal Fasano went deep for the Jays last night, accounting for the team's only run in a 7-1 loss to the Rangers. If "The Stache" can turn it up, there's hope for Toronto yet.