Across the Courtney Campbell Causeway, in Tampa, Curtis Granderson’s right forearm was broken on Sunday by a pitch from the Toronto Blue Jays’ split-squad starter, J.A. Happ. The New York Yankees hit Brett Lawrie in the shoulder in the next inning.
Back at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, the Blue Jays contemplated the return of Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell on Monday. The Red Sox will play split-squad games in Port Charlotte, Fla., against the Tampa Bay Rays and in Dunedin, Fla., against the Blue Jays. Farrell is expected to accompany the Dunedin-bound squad, which will face starter R.A. Dickey for two innings followed by Josh Johnson for another two.
Farrell will find that Jose Bautista will seek him out to shake his hand, that J.P. Arencibia will gladly say “hi” to him if the two cross paths, and that Adam Lind will say hello “if he’s close to me.”
“I won’t seek him out,” Lind, the Blue Jays’ designated hitter, said Sunday as Toronto was being beaten 5-4 by the Baltimore Orioles. “I’m sure we’ll all be professional out there … it will be, uh, interesting to see what happens. I don’t think he’ll be looking for us.”
It was shortly after making his comments about Farrell that the clubhouse television sets, which were tuned to the YES Network’s telecast of the Blue Jays and Yankees, reported that Granderson will be out for 10 weeks.
Pitching in front of manager John Gibbons and general manager Alex Anthopoulos, Happ hit Granderson, who led the Yankees with 43 home runs last season, with a 2-2 fastball in what would turn into a 2-0 Blue Jays win.
“The [crap’s] already started,” Lind said, his lips pursed in a tight smile.
In his first game since his season ended in August with a wrist injury, Bautista slugged a long, two-run home run, and Sergio Santos, who is on the verge of regaining his closer’s job, needed six pitches to get two fly outs and a grounder in his first action since April of 2012. Those are two welcome returns.
Farrell? Not so much after he forced the Blue Jays to trade him to the Red Sox with a year left on his contract.
Farrell’s departure was as ham-handed as his managing in 2012, when he oversaw a team that came off the rails due to injuries and a lack of discipline.
Over-the-top bitterness toward departing players is a fact of the twisted existence of Toronto sports fans. On the surface, this should be like having Vince Carter or Chris Bosh play in your local high school gymnasium just a few months after stiffing the Raptors.
But considering the church-like quiet of the snowbirds in attendance here, Monday’s game will be a happy hunting ground for any leather-lung looking to have the stage to himself.
Some players will be more welcoming than Lind. Arencibia knows that it was Farrell who gave him the opportunity to be a full-time catcher. And Bautista said: “As a person I like him. As a manager I like him. He never did anything bad or wrong to me. You can’t blame anybody for having a desire to get to a certain place in his career. He had a chance to pursue his dream, and I would rather him being there doing that than being with us and wanting to be there.
“So, we’ll have normal chit-chat and then I’m going to try and kick his ass.”
Lind was asked if the page has been turned with Farrell. He shrugged. “It is for him because he wanted to be in Boston anyway. He has no love lost.”
The truth is, Monday for Farrell will be all about starting to tie up loose ends with uniformed personnel. “He had all our phone numbers,” Lind said. The fans will never forgive him – make book on that – but he won’t know the full extent of their bitterness until the Red Sox are at the Rogers Centre April 5-7. That will be nasty and brutish.
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