With the Toronto Blue Jays currently looking for anybody with a rested arm, the team unleashed a flurry of moves on Thursday in order to bolster a tired pitching staff.
According to a team release, right-hander Edgar Gonzalez has been designated for assignment, while lefty Ricky Romero has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. To take their places on the roster, the Blue Jays have selected the contracts of right-handers Ramon Ortiz and Mickey Storey.
The need for arms is a result of the Blue Jays bullpen having to throw 7.2 innings on Tuesday night, after J.A. Happ was knocked out of the game by a line drive off the head, and then another 8.2 innings on Wednesday night when Ricky Romero could only get one out before being relieved.
The Blue Jays had recalled Gonzalez in hopes of using him in a spot start for Happ’s next outing, but the team was ultimately forced to use him Wednesday when Romero was ineffective. Gonzalez threw 4.2 innings, surrendering 5 runs on 6 hits and a pair of walks.
Romero hasn’t been any better. The former staff ace was likely recalled before he was truly ready to contribute, but the team’s hand may have been forced when Josh Johnson was put on the disabled list last week. Romero had looked good in his only Minor League start of 2013, but that came against high-A hitters. In 2 starts since his recall, Romero has managed just 4.1 innings while giving up 6 earned runs on 7 hits and 5 walks, showing that the lefty is still a long way from regaining his effectiveness and confidence.
This will represent the second tour of duty with the Blue Jays this season for Ramon Ortiz. The 40-year-old signed a Minor League deal with the team prior to the season and has spent most of the year in Buffalo. Ortiz threw 3.1 innings of mop-up duty on April 17th against the White Sox, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits during the outing.
Storey is getting his second shot at the Major Leagues, having appeared in 26 games with Houston in 2012. Ironically, Storey himself was struck by a line-drive on September 1th last season, but missed just a few days. In 9 games with the Bisons this season, the 27-year-old right-hander has posted a 3.63 ERA and a K/9 ratio of 11.9.
It will be interesting to see if any further moves are made later in the week, as these moves look like the team is simply trying to add some fresh arms to a tired bullpen.
The Blue Jays will be looking for someone to make a spot start in Happ’s place on Sunday against Boston. Dave Bush or Claudio Vargas could possibly receive a call if the team wants an experienced arm, or the Blue Jays could look at a prospect from Double-A New Hampshire, with both Austin Bibens-Dirkx and Ryan Tepera throwing the ball well for the Fisher Cats.