Overworked Blue Jays option Chad Jenkins, likely recall Kyle Drabek


The Toronto Blue Jays bullpen was still reeling from their 19-inning exploits against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, so the last thing they needed on Friday night was a a total clunker to be thrown by Marcus Stroman, Todd Redmond, or literally anyone else capable of picking up a baseball.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened as Stroman only lasted 2/3 of an inning, surrendering 5 runs on 5 hits, a balk, and a hit-by-pitch. Chad Jenkins followed, throwing 2.2 innings and allowed a single run on 5 hits and a walk, then Todd Redmond came in for 2/3 and was also knocked around for 5 runs on 6 hits. From there it was a stream of relievers in Dustin McGowan, Aaron Sanchez, Aaron Loup, and even Casey Janssen. That’s right, they went through six relievers in the first game of a three-game set.

That means the Blue Jays will need reinforcements in the bullpen for the remainder of the series. That also means Chad Jenkins, who avoided the option after Sunday’s game, is the odd man out this time. The Blue Jays optioned Jenkins back to the Buffalo Bisons following Friday’s game, as indicated by Gregor Chisholm on MLB.com. In his place, the Blue Jays are expected to recall Kyle Drabek from Buffalo to provide some innings.

For Jenkins, this will be his sixth trip back to Buffalo, in what has been a back-and-forth trip for the former first rounder. Despite the constant trips, Jenkins found time to make 20 appearances with the Blue Jays, racking up 29 innings and posting a 2.48 ERA, a 4.7 K/9 ratio, and a very respectable 1.57 ground-out to air-out ratio.

For Drabek, this is a long-awaited return. Once one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, and all that remains of the Roy Halladay trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, things have been incredibly tough for Drabek.  The right-hander underwent his second Tommy John surgery on June 18, 2012, putting his career into doubt. After suffering through some control issues during his rehab, the Blue Jays used their available minor league options on Drabek to convert him to a reliever.

In 16 games as a reliever with the Bisons, Drabek has posted a 2.77 ERA over 26 innings of work with a 1.19 WHIP. While his strike-outs are down to just 6.2 per 9 innings pitched, he’s also increased his ground-ball rate, inducing them at a rate of 1.90 to every air-out.

Jenkins will need to stay in the minors for at least 10 days or until an injury arises (knock on wood), but is assuredly promised a spot when rosters expand in September. How long Drabek remains with the team likely depends on two things; his performance and the ability of the starters to take some workload off of the bullpen in the coming days. However, this is a good opportunity for the Blue Jays to see what they can get from Kyle Drabek moving forward.