A five-man infield, a revolving-door policy at first base, 11 shutout innings from the bullpen, not to mention a record-setting 16-inning marathon in the opening game of the regular season.
Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell, reflecting Saturday morning on all the wild swings that took place during Thursday’s 7-4 Blue Jays victory over the Cleveland Indians, said it was like having the events of eight weeks of games squeezed into one.
And it was a ton of fun.
“I think in the 14th inning I had to sit down because it was like I don’t know how much more we’re going to go through here,” Farrell said as the Blue Jays prepared for their second outing of the year Saturday afternoon against the Indians.
The manager said having a year of managing under his belt probably made it easier for him to make the proper decision on the steady parade of relievers he had to utilize in the victory.
“I think there’s more of a known commodity in our bullpen,” Farrell said. “Even though it was Day 1 I think we had a better read on the roles and capabilities of everybody in the bullpen so it made those matchups a little bit more straightforward than maybe a year ago at this time.
“So there’s familiarity, comfort and more than anything just the ability to anticipate a little bit more freely.”
Farrell also gave an update on the progress of pitcher Dustin McGowan, who likely would have secured himself a spot in the starting rotation when he was shut down in late March after coming down with plantar fasciitis.
The manager said McGowan, who is trying to make it back to the starting rotation after a series of shoulder problems, has yet to start throwing again since he injured his foot.
Farrell also said that the soreness in McGowan’s foot altered his throwing motion and resulted in some soreness in his right throwing shoulder. The shoulder soreness has since abated, the manager said.
“He has not begun to throw yet so he’s still continuing to get treatment on that and continuing to just make sure that we strengthen the shoulder because with the varying arm slot that was there we just are taking every precaution regarding that,” Farrell said.
Farrell said McGowan still has some inflammation in his foot.
“It’s not yet to the point where we’re confident to put a ball back in his hand,” he said.
The manager said McGowan’s recovery has dragged on a little longer than anticipated.
“What that means to the date of return is still open-ended,” Farrell said. “But every guy is going to recover at their own rate and because of his personal situation his rate of recovery is a little bit slower than normal.
“We have to listen to him and he’s going to dictate the pace in which we advance things.”