8-man Bullpen Returns as Blue Jays Place Melky on DL, Recall Wagner


Jul 12, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Neil Wagner (45) throws in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve watched any Toronto Blue Jays games over the last several days (a good many of you have tuned out), you’ve no doubt seen the struggles that Melky Cabrera has had in the field. Well, that has not escaped the Blue Jays either, as Toronto place Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and recalled right-hander Neil Wagner.

Cabrera has appeared in only 10 games since being activated from the DL on July 21st, but it has been apparent that the problems with his legs have not fully healed. He’s hit .286 with a .667 OPS since his return, but has only one extra-base hit and a single RBI to show during that span.

That said, his inability to field his position properly has created an unnecessary burden on Blue Jays pitchers. In Monday’s game against Oakland, Cabrera’s slow wheels turned a routine base hit by Yoenis Cespedes to the gap into a triple. In Thursday’s game, Cabrera dropped the ball while making a throw into the infield, trying to hold Mark Trumbo at third, allowing the Angels to score on the play and moving Erick Aybar to move into second base.

In his stead, the Blue Jays have recalled right-hander Neil Wagner from Triple-A Buffalo, once again giving Toronto an 8-man bullpen. The extra arm became a necessity after Josh Johnson‘s latest melt-down on Thursday night, where he lasted just 2.1 innings, surrendering 10 hits and 7 runs (6 earned).

This will be the second stint in Toronto for the 29-year-old reliever. In 20 appearances, Wagner has pitched admirably, tallying a 2-3 record, a 3.26 ERA, and a 7.4 k/9 ratio.

Ironically, it was Wagner who was the odd man out when Cabrera was activated off of the disabled list a little over a week ago.