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The Blue Jays right-hander admitted he was distracted by the retractable roof at the Rogers Centre on Tuesday night, which didn’t close quite the way it should with a steady rain falling during the sixth inning.
“You can say a million things about what happened with the roof . . . everyone has a job to do and I don’t know how it (roof) got stuck,” said Villaneuva, who was visibly upset with the resulting buildup of mud on his spikes after the rain moistened the mound.
“I definitely wasn’t prepared for it. My cleats were muddy but they (the Orioles) had it too and they came up fine.”
If the rain and muddy mound weren’t enough to dampen the Jays’ spirits, taking a 12-0 drubbing from Baltimore was. Still, the talk after the game centred on the irony of rain falling inside the stadium formerly known as the SkyDome.
The sliding roof ran into trouble in the sixth when, after closing at normal speed, it ground to a halt with about 100 feet of opening to go.
The glitch was fixed, but the roof continued to close at a snail’s pace. It took most of the next two innings for the final distance to be covered, prompting stadium officials to apologize for the “delay.”
The grounds crew even came onto the field to apply a drying agent to the mound, but the game itself was never delayed.
The incident, however, trended on Twitter and was picked up by a newspaper in Tuscon as a delay of game. The resulting report — which claimed that “only in Canada” could a baseball game in a domed stadium be delayed by rain — was erroneously picked up by USA Today and run on its website.
For Villanueva, it was a bit of a nightmarish situation. He showed his muddied cleats to home plate umpire Laz Diaz, but stopped short of using the unexpected wet conditions as an excuse for his giving up six runs in his 6.2 innings of work.
“We had nothing behind the mound. Usually in other stadiums you have something to clean your cleats, but at that point you have to bear down, you can’t use it as an excuse,” said Villanueva, who was in part referencing Orioles starter Zach Britton, who worked seven scoreless innings of four-hitter in his first career start in Toronto.
“I told him (Diaz) that it was kind of ridiculous what was going on, and he said, ‘I know, I haven’t seen it before either.’ But I’m not complaining . . . I’ll be better prepared next time it happens.”
The Jays ran their scoreless innings string to 18 — they lost 4-0 to Baltimore on Monday — while the Orioles, now with a perfect 60-0 record when leading after seven innings, got all the runs they’d need in the fifth on Mark Reynolds’ three-run homer.
Farrell is wrapping up his second year as the Jays’ bench boss, and while it’s been widely speculated he is on a three-year deal, the franchise never announced the terms of his deal and is not expected to reveal any extensions if they are agreed to.
That policy originated in part because Farrell’s name was mentioned at the time in Boston’s managerial reports.
Bobby Valentine was awarded the Boston job this season, but with the Red Sox having a disastrous season, it’s expected a change in managers is coming for 2013.
“My focus is clearly here with the Blue Jays, I’m under contract obviously,” said Farrell, who was regarded as an exceptional pitching coach when he served in that role with the Red Sox prior to taking the Jays’ managerial post.
“I can understand that there can be a natural connection because I’ve worked there in the past, but my focus and my commitment has been and is here, unequivocally.”
In the meantime, injured Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia was scheduled to catch games at Class-A Dunedin on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a stint at DH on Thursday. Barring any setbacks, Arencibia would likely join the Jays in Boston on Friday.
The Jays also hope to get third baseman Brett Lawrie (right oblique strain) into a game with Dunedin, which is in the Florida State League playoffs. That means Lawrie, who is playing without any pain, would have to get into a game by Thursday.
NOTES: Outfielder Anthony Gose and reliever Chad Beck will be the Jays’ September call-ups. Farrell said the Jays will likely go to a six-man rotation beginning Sept. 24 when the club opens a doubleheader in Baltimore.