DUNEDIN, Florida - Brett Cecil didn't know where he fit, or if he fit, in the Blue Jays' plans. On Wednesday morning he found out.
Cecil's made the team.
"I was sitting here in the chair and Pete (Walker) called me and to be honest my heart sank," said Cecil. "I didn't know. I knew they could release me for certain reasons and I know there were some good reasons so I guess it was all up to how they saw I was pitching."
He said he didn't feel a sigh of relief when given the news; the body language while addressing the media at his locker stall told a different story. Baseball is a game only on the field, otherwise it's big business. Cecil, through his words, offered a reminder that people's lives are affected.
"This past week has been the most stressful," he said. "I've got to pack my family up and I don't even know if I'm going anywhere."
Despite a 7.04 ERA in Grapefruit League play, which Cecil acknowledged was the main reason behind his concern he'd be cut, the 26-year-old felt better as spring went along. He's especially encouraged about his fastball velocity, which has returned to the 90-mph range after a mysterious drop in to the mid-80s two springs ago.
"I haven't really had that outing and I don't think I'm going to have that outing where you just feel mediocre, where you don't have anything on your fastball or something's not working," said Cecil. "It was all just pitch location for me and that's a lot easier to fix than trying to fight your fastball and trying to get something on it. I'm very encouraged by it and I'm glad to see the front office was too."
Because Cecil is out of options, the Blue Jays risked losing him had he been cut. It's likely another club would have given Cecil a chance. He's glad he won't have to find out.
"It just made me want to work that much harder because to be told that I was on a big league team that's got a good chance of being in the playoffs, a good chance of being in the World Series is pretty awesome," said Cecil. It just pumped me up even more to work hard in my workouts, work hard in my 'pens and have a lot more conviction during the game and do better to make sure I stay here."
Cecil hasn't been told his role in the bullpen. He's been considered for the long spot; his numbers against left-handed hitters suggest he'd be useful to manager John Gibbons in matchup situations. For his career, Cecil has held lefties to a .232 batting average and a .657 on-base plus slugging percentage.
The Blue Jays will break camp with an eight-man bullpen as flamethrower Jeremy Jeffress, who's also out of options, has been annouced as a member of the team.
Cecil's just happy to play a part.
"I was expecting the worst but hoping for the best," he said.