TORONTO - With his Blue Jays 41-41 through 82 games, general manager Alex Anthopoulos held court prior to Tuesday night's game against the Tigers.
Anthopoulos discussed the approaching non-waiver trade deadline, July 31st, along with the statuses of a number of injured players and Ricky Romero.
On Trade Deadline:
"There has been a few clubs I've talked to, I've asked about their timeline, some teams have to wait. They want to wait to see where their club is in a few weeks. I had a club I talked to last night that said they need another week to 10 days. I think it's as much about fan base, ownership, things like that, if they're going to start trading players away. Right now, we're not engaged in anything at all. In a lot of the phone calls I've had, I think people are just trying to gather information at this point. We've called clubs, clubs have called us and we're just trying to take notes on what everyone is going to look to do."
On Brett Lawrie:
"The defence, overall, has stabilized itself. I think Izturis has been playing great. He's made some great plays at third. And DeRosa has been fine when he's been over there. So I think we have time with Brett. I think with Brett, we'll just give him as many at-bats as we can. It's a 20-day assignment, he started it on Wednesday of last week, so you're still looking at another two weeks of it."
On Kyle Drabek:
"Drabek is close to being ready to come off his rehab assignment. We're just going to watch his innings for now. We basically capped him at about two innings, he's in the Florida State League ... He'll probably be optioned to the Florida State League."
On Drew Hutchison:
"Drew has been throwing bullpens and live BPs and things like that, feeling good, two innings, has not started a rehab assignment. He'll be 12 months post-op, beginning of August, so we'll probably get him on a rehab assignment soon."
On J.A. Happ:
"Happ threw live batting practice. His arm feels great, it just comes down to the knee and he won't start a rehab assignment until the soreness in the knee is completely gone. It's as much to keep his arm in shape."
"He's throwing right now, he's throwing batting practice. But being able to get off the mound, field your position, do all of those things, our trainers have said you can't take that chance until there's no soreness. He'll get up in the morning, be a little sore, and once he starts to get going, the soreness goes away. Until that pain is completely gone, he won't start an actual rehab assignment."
On Brandon Morrow:
"Morrow, finally, has no pain at all. He threw to 60 feet today, I think he's going to do 90 feet tomorrow. I think the fact that the pain or soreness is completely gone now, he can get going on a throwing program and next step would obviously be a rehab assignment.
Estimated return date?
"We have a month of rehab assignment available and we haven't even started that yet. By the time he does, you're looking at a two-week period every five days. It might be at the end of July but I think you're probably looking at late July or early August. But probably August at this point.
On Luis Perez:
"Perez is doing better. He had a bit of a flare up early on so he has just been throwing bullpens and sides. We want to be careful with him just because he did have a setback early. It wasn't severe but we just weren't going to take any chances. He had been built up to go two innings and then had some soreness in his elbow. So, again, he may start a rehab assignment but we're going to be 100% sure on him. He's probably still pretty far away."
On Ricky Romero:
"You know, I'd seen his start two outings ago. Actually Mike was there too and it was not a good outing. I think the line kind of speaks for itself. The first inning, the changeup was good and looked all right and he just didn't throw as well later. We actually had a scout in to see his last outing and said he was good; ground balls, strikes and really the outing that we saw, that was really the outlier for the last four or five starts so maybe that's something that happens over time. Maybe he makes four good outings, one shaky one and then he starts to get going and starts to remove himself a little more. Stuff's good, velocity's good and command is getting better. He's not there yet but he's certainly getting better."
What are you looking for from Romero?
"The results. You're starting to see some of the strike-outs come back, which is important because he's getting ahead and he's able to use his changeup. He's going deep into games and I think it's results at this point. I mean, at certain times, people may not make plays behind him and so on but from a consistency standpoint, you want to see him have the results he needs to have at that level, start after start. So I want to see him do it for a while."
How is Romero's confidence?
"He's pretty honest about it. I think it's confidence, like anything else, when you're not having success, that's part of it as well. It sounds like mentally, he's in a good place and if you talk to the staff down there, he's beyond over-analyzing and worrying about things. He knows he's just got a job to do and get better so I think he's in a great place."