This afternoon, manager John Farrell announced that the slimmed-down and shaped-up leftie will take the mound for this Saturday’s game against the Pirates.
To say that Brett Cecil had a rough season in 2011 would be to make a dramatic understatement. Let’s put it this way. Cecil lost more games, walked more batters, and gave up more home runs than JoJo Reyes. To make things worse for Cecil, he was coming off of a true career year in 2010 when he went 15 and 7.
If you care to remember back a year or so, you might recall that one of the ongoing stories of last spring was Cecil’s “loss of velocity”. His fastball – typically clocking in around 92 or 93 mph – was down to a max of just 86 to 88; hardly a ‘fast’ ball at all. Looking back, it’s maybe not surprising that he had a tough time of things, even just from the overthinking these kinds of stories can cause in any young starter.
He ended the season with just 4 wins and 11 losses in 20 starts, all wins posted before the end of July. Add his temper to the list of Cecil’s losses in 2011. He threw multiple televised tantrums in the dugout, and although many fans sympathetically echoed his frustration at home, it didn’t sit well with the team.
Reports are coming out that Alex Anthopoulos and Cecil had some frank conversations in the post-season, focused on responsibility and accountability and the ability to get those emotions back in check.
And yet, 2011 did have highlights for Cecil.
July 24, just a month after returning from 12 starts in Las Vegas, he threw his first career complete-game, a 4 hit shutout of the Texas Rangers in Arlington. In fact, July as a whole, Cecil showed good command with some of his best numbers of 2011. In medium and high leverage situations, Cecil actually got sharper, increasing strikes and reducing walks dramatically.
But, thankfully, all of that is in the past for Brett Cecil. He came to camp a dramatic 38 pounds lighter, and lighter in attitude too. Reporters have been describing him as “upbeat” and “confident”.
All signs point to a great 2012 for Brett Cecil, and the leftie should be a core part of the Jays rotation this year.
Other announced starters:
Sunday at Pirates: Henderson Alvarez
Monday at Tigers: Drew Hutchison