Zaun set to handle everyday catching duties for Blue Jays

By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com

第一眼,也許捕手這個位置一切OK;但是再看清楚一點,就不是那麼確定了。
在目前這個時候,Gregg Zaun會是這個位置的先發;不論這個34歲的捕手能否打出如2005的成績。而如果他能,多倫多會有一個非常好的隊形。

Guillermo Quiroz會是這個位置的主力替補。 不過球隊在1月3號以小聯盟約簽下Jason Phillips;這表示他將是 Guillermo Quiroz,這個17歲就加入球隊,過去2年大小傷不斷的選手,在春訓和開季時的最大競爭對手。

這個動作同時也粉碎了球隊希望簽下Bengie Molina的謠言。在1月稍早,GM J.P. Ricciardi 並沒有否認這個謠言,但他同時也宣稱簽下Bengie Molina在經濟上並不實際。

"我們當然喜歡Bengie Molina很久了,但是並不是所有我們想要的選手都有能力網羅";J.P. Ricciardi如此說到;"這是我們必須克服的"

這也讓左右開弓的Zaun成為球隊的第一號捕手。他將能勝任這份工作如果他能有去年的成績的話;去年他的打擊率是0.251,並且在全壘打 (11), 打點 (61), 得分 (61) 和保送 (73)都創下生涯新高。同時保送是全隊第一,而上壘率0.355則是全隊第二。

而Zaun同時也在Roy Halladay和Ted Lilly先後進入傷兵時,努力帶領投手群保持戰力不墬;在他的引導下,4.06的團隊防禦率是AL東區最低的。

而Zaun最讓人印象深刻的則應該是在他11季大聯盟生涯中(待過7支球隊),去年那生涯最高的出賽數-133場-在多倫多兩年即達到240場出賽--而在此之前他花了四年。要是沒有5月的那個衝撞而導致腦震盪的話,他應該可以出賽更多場次。

然而在Zaun之後的後備人選並不是那麼的確定,多倫多希望她的捕手能顯現出耐力

24歲的Quiroz在去年並沒有太多機會能證明他能勝任大聯盟的工作,年輕的委內瑞拉人在2005球季因為各種傷痛喪失了機會,而在8月底被登錄至大聯盟時也只在小聯盟出賽了40場,而12場大聯盟比賽中,打擊率只有0.194,從04-05以來出賽29場
也只有0.205的打擊率

"看看過去那兩年,先是肺部的問題,接著是去年開季時的手傷"藍鳥隊教練John Gibbons 在去年8月底說"他幾乎要達到目標,卻掉了下去,而那是他生涯的一個關鍵--升上大聯盟--而且他已經喪失整整兩個球季"

"毫無疑問,那傷到他了"

藍鳥隊希望Quiroz能在冬季時增強自己的能力,但是他在委內瑞拉冬季聯盟為Zulia Aguilas 出賽21場,僅有1支全壘打,4分打點,0.191打擊率的成績

29歲的Phillips在Dunedin, Fla的春訓將會直接和Quiroz競爭候補捕手的位置
如果他贏得了這次較量,開季時,Quiroz將會從3A Syracuse出發

Phillips去年在道奇出賽121場,打擊率0.238,有10支全壘打和55分的打點. 他生涯的前四季都待在大都會,接著球團在去年將他送至洛杉磯換取Kaz Ishii(石井一久?)
這名6-1,220磅的右投手在大都會時期守過一壘和本壘,但是考量到一壘防區已經過度擁擠,他在藍鳥隊將專職捕手

不過在Zaun, Quiroz和Phillips之後,卻沒有太多合適的選擇

截至目前為止,Robinzon Diaz, Erik Kratz, Mike Mahoney和Curtis Thigpen都已經獲邀參加春訓. Mahoney在1月11日和球隊簽下小聯盟約,他也是上述四人中唯一一名擁有大聯盟經驗的.其他人在去年都未能參與3A以上等級的比賽.
過去3季Mahoney 的打擊率只有0.180,這名33歲的捕手在去年為紅雀出賽了26場比賽.而在2000和2002都只在小熊短暫的亮相

一個耐操的Zaun和一個健康的Quiroz可以提供藍鳥隊在本壘板的解答,而要是任一項出現問題,它將是藍鳥競爭季後賽的嚴重麻煩

原文

At first glance, the catching situation seems to be all set for the Blue Jays. Take a closer look, though, and the position appears to have more questions than solid answers.

Gregg Zaun is the starter behind the plate -- that much is certain at this point. Whether the 34-year-old can duplicate his career year of 2005 has yet to be determined. If he does, Toronto should be in good shape.

The backup job seemed primed for Guillermo Quiroz. Then Toronto signed Jason Phillips to a Minor League deal on Jan. 3 that included an invitation to Spring Training with the big-league club. That could mean competition for Quiroz, who has overcome multiple injuries the last two seasons and has been in the organization since he was 17 years old.

These question marks have also affected the free agent rumor mill, which has claimed Toronto was in the running for Bengie Molina's services. Earlier this month, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi didn't deny those rumblings, but he said that signing Molina seemed unrealistic financially.

"We've obviously liked [Molina] for a long time, but there comes a point where we can't do everything," Ricciardi said. "This might be a case where we have to pass."

That leaves the switch-hitting Zaun as Toronto's No. 1 catcher, which could work out fine if he comes close to last season's totals. Zaun hit .251 with career highs in home runs (11), RBIs (61), runs (61) and walks (73). He led the Jays in walks and was second on the team with a .355 on-base percentage.

Zaun also helped keep Toronto's pitching staff intact when starters Roy Halladay and Ted Lilly landed on the disabled list. With Zaun's help, the pitchers posted a 4.06 team ERA -- the lowest among the American League East teams.

The most impressive mark for Zaun, who has caught for seven teams in 11 seasons, might have been the numbers of games he played. He appeared in a career-best 133 games in 2005. It took Zaun four seasons prior to joining Toronto to match the 240 games he's played in the last two years for the Jays. He might have appeared in more games had he not landed on the disabled list in May after suffering a concussion.

With the current uncertainty in the depth chart behind Zaun, Toronto will hope its catcher can display similar durability.

Quiroz, 24, had very little time to prove himself worthy of a big-league job last year. The young Venezuelan missed time with various injuries in 2005, and he played in just 40 Minor League games before getting called up in late August. With Toronto, Quiroz hit just .194 in 12 games. He's posted a .205 average in the 29 games he's played between 2004-05.

"Look at the last two years. He had that collapsed lung twice, and then he broke his hand at the beginning of last year," Toronto manager John Gibbons said last August. "He was getting to the point where he was on the verge of making it. And that's a pivotal part in his career -- making the jump to the big leagues -- and he lost almost two full years.

"That's hurt him. There's no question about it."

The Jays were hoping Quiroz could improve at the plate this offseason during winter ball, but he hit .191 with one homer and four RBIs in 21 games for the Zulia Aguilas in the Venezuelan League.

Phillips, 29, will probably provide the closest competition for Quiroz at Spring Training in Dunedin, Fla. If Phillips earns the backup catching duties with the Major League club, Quiroz will likely start the season with Triple-A Syracuse.

Phillips hit .238 with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs in 121 games with the Dodgers last year. He spent his first four seasons with the New York Mets before being dealt to L.A. for pitcher Kaz Ishii last May. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound right-hander split time as a first baseman and catcher with the Mets, but he would spend his time behind the plate for Toronto, considering the logjam at the corner infield positions.

Beyond Zaun, Quiroz and Phillips, not many plausible options remain.

So far, catchers Robinzon Diaz, Erik Kratz, Mike Mahoney and Curtis Thigpen all have been extended invitations to Spring Training. Mahoney, who signed a Minor League contract with Toronto on Jan. 11, is the only player of those four with any Major League experience. None of the others advanced above Double-A in 2005. Mahoney has a career .180 average over three seasons. The 33-year-old played 26 games for St. Louis last season and had brief stints with the Chicago Cubs in 2000 and 2002.

A durable Zaun and a healthy Quiroz could provide all the answers Toronto needs behind the plate. If either falter, though, the depth at the catching spot could quickly become a weak link in the Blue Jays' quest for playoff contention.

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