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Blue Jays Team Health Report 2012

The Jays have long been the medical version of A Tale of Two Cities. If you're a hitter with the Jays, it's the best of times. If you're a pitcher, it's ... well, not. The Jays did a little better last year, keeping their pitchers more intact than in most years. Brandon Morrow is perhaps the most interesting case, since they've been able to keep him going despite a heavy workload for his age and track record. That points to the minor leagues and how the team is developing pitchers as the issue and perhaps not anything the major league medical staff has done. Some also point to the former administration of the Jays, and while it's too early to say, there's merit to that as well. This team sets up with a similar risk profile to last year, so we'll get another year of data by which to judge George Poulis, John Farrell and Alex Anthopolous.

Health Keys: Find ways to keep their pitchers healthy while maintaining their success with position players, especially young ones such as Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus.

(HEAD TRAINER: George Poulis; FIVE YEAR RANK: 19; 2011 RANK: 14)
For explanation of these ratings, click here
GREEN LIGHT
C J.P. Arencibia
Arencibia didn't seem to have much trouble adjusting to the major leagues. Farrell never let him go too long without a rest, and with Jeff Mathis behind him, things are much the same this year. No catcher is without risk, but Arencibia's is low enough to make him green.

1B Adam Lind
This is a bit of a confusing rating. Lind struggled through a back injury much of last season, but since he played through it, the System doesn't really see it. Mix in the DHing he did and the options the team has at the DH/1B slot and the green makes a bit of sense. Yellow is probably more realistic, but sometimes The System is a lot smarter than us by being dumb but consistent.

CF Colby Rasmus
Rasmus had a lingering wrist injury that has him right on the cusp of yellow. I was a bit surprised to see him there, but the profile makes sense. He's young, athletic, has been relatively healthy and hasn't had leg problems. I'm curious how a full year on the turf will affect him, but aside from traumatic possibilities, this is about right.

RF Jose Bautista
Bautista seemed to wear down a bit in the second half, but he only had minor injuries. There's nothing to keep him from hitting on the same level again physically

SP Ricky Romero
Romero cleared the injury nexus, bumped his innings up again, and seemed to get even better. He's one of few true aces in the game and still has upside.

Also Green:
2B Kelly Johnson
SS Yunel Escobar
LF Eric Thames
RP Francisco Cordero
YELLOW LIGHT
3B Brett Lawrie
Lawrie hit a wall at the end of the season. He wore down and ended up with minor injuries -- a bruised knee and a broken finger -- that speak to fatigue, of being a step slow, more than any real inclination toward a severe injury. Something he's a high effort player, but he doesn't really profile that way.

DH Edwin Encarnacion
Known in fantasy circles as "E5," Encarnacion may play some LF this year. He could lose time at DH to Adam Lind and Travis Snider as well. His shoulder gives him problems when he's in the field too much and could be affecting him at the plate as well.

RED LIGHT
SP Brandon Morrow
The Jays are being cautious with Morrow, holding down his innings to a reasonable increase in '10 and '11. He wore down hard in '10, but a full offseason in the Jays program and the tutelage of a new staff helped. It's still unclear how he'll do with that last 190-inning hurdle, but they've set him up well to try.

SP Brett Cecil
The flip side of Morrow, Cecil had a big innings increase in '10 and a big fallback in '11. He wore down rather than breaking down, so he's a bit lucky. The risk is that what we saw last year (which wasn't bad at all beyond the W-L) is the true level. Or true level now.

SP Dustin McGowan
That McGowan made it all the way back after a run of elbow and shoulder surgeries is pretty amazing. Expecting him to stay at this level is folly. Then again, just getting there might be enough to let something good happen.

SP Henderson Alvarez
Alvarez shot through the Jays system and found himself pitching in the latter half of the '11 season. It was more a necessity than him forcing his way up. He'll be tested to go more than 150 innings, and even then, he's only there because Kyle Drabek utterly fell apart.

CL Sergio Santos
Santos is a converted SS and conversions tend to have big velocity without the time-caused changes that are seen in pitchers' arms. That leads to forces that the arm can't handle and often elbow issues. So far he's been healthy and the wear down in the latter portion of last season was apparent. Watch the velocity closely.

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