Notes: Towers working on command
Blue Jays right-hander strikes out five in win over Phillies
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It's rare to see Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg without his clipboard tucked under his arm. Pinned under the metal clip is a pile of papers, which include detailed pitch logs, schedules and other notes regarding Toronto's pitching staff.
As Opening Day approaches, Arnsberg will play a key role in deciding who fills out the back end of the rotation. Part of his job in determining which starters have the edge for the fourth and fifth starting jobs is looking beyond the statistical data, though.
"You're looking for them to pound the zone," said Arnsberg, standing outside the visitors' clubhouse at Bright House Networks Field on Thursday night. "You're looking for them to work ahead and for them to keep throwing to contact. You're watching stuff -- late life on the ball."
So, Arnsberg doesn't always turn to his clipboard. He also gets feedback from Toronto's catcher, Jays bullpen coach Bruce Walton, and Arnsberg will even ask opposing hitters what they thought of particular pitchers.
On Thursday, Arnsberg was keeping a watchful eye on right-hander Josh Towers, who was making his third start of Spring Training for the Blue Jays. In four innings of work, Towers continued his strong spring, allowing just one run on three hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
The inning that looked the best on paper was the frame that had Arnsberg shaking his head, though. In the fourth, Towers needed only 10 pitches, including nine strikes, to strike out Philadelphia's Pat Burrell and induce fly outs from Wes Helms and Aaron Rowand.
"That last inning, I'm not disappointed, but he pitched up in the zone," Arnsberg said. "He got three straight outs, but it's kind of a crazy game. You teach to pitch down, down, down, and he goes up and gets three straight outs on pitches up in the zone."
Towers, who is in the running for a starting job, wasn't about to argue with Arnsberg's assessment. The pitcher was also disappointed in his command, even though he wound up with good results. Towers finished with 61 pitches -- 40 for strikes -- after needing just 27 pitches to work three innings in his previous start.
"I don't know if it's because the pitch count finally got up, but I couldn't locate the ball in the fourth inning at all," said Towers, who has a 2.00 ERA this spring. "My body felt great. I just don't know if my arm got fatigued or not, but it was good work, for sure."
"He's fine," Gibbons said. "He gets it every spring. It's called wear and tear."
Glaus, 30, led the Blue Jays with 38 home runs in 2006. Through eight Grapefruit League games this spring, he was hitting .222 with one homer and two RBIs.
Out for the year: The shoulder injury that has kept left-hander Davis Romero off the mound since the start of Spring Training turned out to be worse than originally anticipated.
On Thursday, the Blue Jays announced that Romero, who might've been in the mix for a bullpen job this spring had it not been for the injury, suffered a torn left labrum. Dr. Steve Mirabello performed surgery on Romero's shoulder on Thursday in Florida, and the pitcher will miss all of the 2007 season.
Last year, Romero had his contract purchased by Toronto in August after stints with Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse. The 23-year-old native of Panama went 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 16 1/3 innings across seven games out of the Blue Jays' bullpen.
Roster moves: Prior to Thursday night's game against Philadelphia, the Blue Jays optioned right-hander Dustin McGowan to Triple-A Syracuse. Toronto now has 48 players, including 17 non-roster invitees, in camp with the big-league club.
In three spring appearances, the 24-year-old McGowan was 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA. He yielded six runs on nine hits, including three home runs, with four strikeouts and three walks in 6 2/3 innings.
After Toronto's win over the Phillies, the Jays also optioned right-hander Matt Roney to Triple-A. Roney had a 2.45 ERA in three relief outings this spring.
Back on track: After scoring just two runs in their last four games, Toronto tallied a spring-high 11 runs against Philadelphia. Jays center fielder Vernon Wells belted his third and fourth home runs of Spring Training -- the second bouncing off the roof of a restaurant behind the left-field stands at Bright House Networks Field. Toronto outfielder Reed Johnson led off the game with a solo shot that bounced off the foul pole in left.
Sidelined: Travis Snider, Toronto's first selection in last June's First-Year Player Draft, is sitting out with a tight lat muscle in his back. Snider, 19, suffered the injury while hitting on Tuesday and is expected to miss about a week of practice and Minor League games. Snider will likely begin this season with Class A Lansing.
Quotable: "It's almost like when you face the Yankees and people expect teams to fail. Ryan Howard, you expect to hit home runs. You almost don't overdo it, because there's no point. For some reason, I just located pretty well with him." -- Towers, who had two strikeouts against the '06 National League MVP on Thursday
Coming up: Toronto right-hander Roy Halladay is scheduled to make his fourth start of Spring Training when the Blue Jays head to Sarasota, Fla., on Friday to take on the Reds at 1:05 p.m. ET at Ed Smith Stadium.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.