Minors report: Thigpen soaking it in
Catcher learning as much as he can in big-league camp
Hot topic: Curtis Thigpen tucked his catcher's mitt under his arm, headed up the steps of the visitors' dugout at Osceola County Stadium and met with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
Thigpen, who was reassigned to the Jays' Minor League camp later Sunday, listened intently while Gibbons -- a former catcher -- went over a few things with the young player. It was just one example of Thigpen's willingness to soak up as much information as he can during his time in big-league camp with Toronto this spring.
"If I can take a little bit from everybody, then I think that can make me that much better," Thigpen said on Sunday. "It's good to have someone around who knows what they're doing. It's good to have someone with experience to help correct you and to help you learn the ropes."
Thigpen, 23, is in line to begin this season with Triple-A Syracuse, where he'll be provided with exactly the kind of mentor he was describing. As the roster currently stands, veteran catcher Sal Fasano, who signed with the Jays in January, appears to be ticketed for Triple-A, too.
Thigpen, who hit .260 with six home runs and 45 RBIs in 100 games between Double-A New Hampshire and Syracuse last season, has enjoyed working with and learning from Fasano this spring. The young catcher is also looking forward to possibly being around the 35-year-old Fasano during the season.
"He knows the game, and he's a nice guy and likes to work with guys," Thigpen said. "He's been great, and I hope I get to spend some more time with him, talk with him a little bit, play with him and learn from him. Experience is one of the biggest things in this game, and he has a lot of it."
Fasano, who has played parts of nine seasons in the Majors, isn't off Toronto's radar in terms of a backup catching job, but Jason Phillips appears to be the front-runner for that role right now. Even so, when Fasano signed, he said he was more than willing to begin the season with Syracuse.
On the move: The Blue Jays will take a good look at right-hander Geremi Gonzalez before they decide whether to send him to Triple-A Syracuse. The 32-year-old pitcher has experience as a starter and as a reliever. Gonzalez could be in the running for a bullpen job with the Jays, especially with Brandon League's status being up in the air for Opening Day.
On the pine: Blue Jays left-hander Davis Romero had surgery to repair a torn left labrum on Thursday. Dr. Steve Mirabello performed the operation on Thursday in Florida. Romero, 23, went 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 16 1/3 innings during seven games out of the Toronto's bullpen last year. He didn't appear in any Grapefruit League games and will miss all of the '07 season.
They're No. 1: In 2004, the Blue Jays used their first pick on University of Oklahoma pitcher David Purcey. Last season, the left-hander began the year with Triple-A Syracuse, but a 2-7 start led to a demotion to Double-A New Hampshire. In 28 starts in the Minors in 2006, Purcey went 6-12 with a 5.53 ERA. The 6-foot-5 pitcher will likely be back at Double-A to begin this year.
Class of '06: Travis Snider, who was Toronto's top selection in last June's First-Year Player Draft, sat out much of the past week due to a tight lat muscle in his back. The 19-year-old outfielder suffered the injury during batting practice, but he should be able to get back into Minor League workouts soon. Snider is slated to start the season with low Class A Lansing.
Stat machine: Infielder Ray Olmedo, who has an outside shot at a spot on Toronto's bench, continued to have a rough spring at the plate. The switch-hitter is 0-for-20 in 19 games for the Blue Jays.
What they're saying: "It was kind of a taste of the dream. There's no guarantees in baseball, but for me, it was extra motivation to get up there and get the feel for being in that big-league atmosphere and the big-league park." -- Snider, on taking batting practice at the Rogers Centre last year
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.