Blue Jays confident with Cordero as closer
Veteran saves man will fill bill with Santos on disabled list
KANSAS CITY -- With the injury to Sergio Santos, the Blue Jays needed an interim closer, and they couldn't have had a better option available.
Francisco Cordero will serve in that role while Santos is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He nailed down his first opportunity on Sunday, recording the save in the Blue Jays' 5-3 win. Cordero has 328 career saves, ranking 12th all-time.
Having Cordero available to fill in for Santos might be the ultimate luxury for the Blue Jays. Manager John Farrell lauded general manager Alex Anthopoulos for bringing in Cordero this winter.
"It goes back to what Alex set off to do in the offseason," Farrell said before Sunday's game against the Royals. "And to be able to recruit and bring in and sign Francisco Cordero, it certainly adds a lot of experience, a lot of past save history. And in a case like now when we've got to take a little bit of a time out with Sergio, to have that veteran presence and that success down there is a little bit of a comfort. But it also gives us a bona fide closer that we can build and bridge to to close out games."
In his first six appearances this season with Toronto, Cordero, 36, allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks. But he's been a dominant closer throughout his career. Last season, he recorded 37 saves with Cincinnati. Between 2004 and 2011, he saved 34 games or more seven times.
Toronto's ninth-inning role seems to be in good hands during Santos' absence.
Farrell said that Santos was flying to California on Sunday and will meet with orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum on Monday as a precaution.
"Anytime you're dealing with any player -- Sergio or otherwise -- we're going to run him through our normal protocol for evaluation, examination, and determine a course of action going forward," Farrell said.
Toronto's defense making habit of double plays
KANSAS CITY -- Double your pleasure, double your fun.
Entering Sunday's action, no team in the American League had turned more double plays than the Blue Jays. Four of the team's 21 double plays this season came in Saturday's 9-5 win over the Royals.
Manager John Farrell attributed the infield's success to a couple of factors.
"It's a combination of a few things," Farrell said. "We've got a few more sinkerball pitchers, pitchers that are going to put the ball on the ground. But the one constant from day one has been the defense, whether it's on the infield or in the outfield. ... When you can eliminate a base hit and turn it into an out, reduce the number of pitches thrown by a given pitcher. All those things work hand-in-hand, but our guys have done an excellent job on the infield."
Farrell specifically pointed out a double play from the seventh inning of Saturday's game off the bat of Royals designated hitter Billy Butler. Third baseman Brett Lawrie made a diving stop on a ground ball to his left, got up, and threw to second baseman Kelly Johnson, who relayed to Adam Lind to complete the twin-killing.
"I think we've played very steady defense, and we've not only made the average play, we've made some well above-average plays," Farrell said. "When you look at the double play that Brett started with a diving play to his glove side, those aren't normal plays."
Vizquel knows triple plays, great moments
KANSAS CITY -- You'd think that 24-year veteran Omar Vizquel has seen it all. But it doesn't mean he's still not wowed by baseball's biggest achievements.
Friday's triple play against the Royals was the Blue Jays' fourth as a franchise, but Vizquel has seen more than that by himself. Over his career, Vizquel has been on a roster that has been involved in a triple play nine times.
Vizquel recalled the time he hit into a triple play, or rather bunted into a triple play. It occurred in 1992, when Vizquel played for Seattle in a game against Detroit.
With none out and runners on first and third, Vizquel attempted to squeeze in Dave Valle from third. The bunt was caught by Tigers third baseman Skeeter Barnes, who tagged Valle coming down the third-base line. Barnes then threw on to Cecil Fielder at first to nail Harold Reynolds for the third out.
"Sometimes you find those weird plays like that," said Vizquel, who made his first start of the season in place of Kelly Johnson at second on Sunday. "How weird is it that somebody's bunting and he hits into a three-out play? It's really weird. ... Some times you don't know what kind of combination you're going to get."
Vizquel redeemed himself the next month, when the Baltimore Orioles visited the Kingdome. Baltimore's Mike Devereaux hit a fly ball to right field that was caught by Jay Buhner. Randy Milligan was at first base and started running, going beyond the second base bag and passing Brady Anderson, who was at second. Milligan was called out, and Anderson wandered off the bag, confused.
Buhner threw to Reynolds, Reynolds threw to Vizquel and Vizquel tagged Anderson for the third out.
Before Friday, the last triple play Vizquel witnessed was the one his White Sox hit into last April against the Indians.
Vinnie Duber is an associate producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.