Jays call up Jeff Francis; option Colt Hynes
The Toronto Blue Jays added another Canadian face to the big-league roster on Sunday by recalling pitcher Jeff Francis from Triple-A Buffalo.
Relief pitcher Colt Hynes was optioned back to Buffalo for Francis.
The move was made because the Jays need a fresh arm for the bullpen, as manager John Gibbons said after Saturday’s game.
Toronto’s starting rotation has had its’ struggles out of the gate. R.A. Dickey was the first pitcher in the Jays’ 12 games to make it through seven innings. In fact, the starters have only made it through six innings in half the games so far this season.
The Jays sit 25th in starters ERA (4.80), but the bullpen hasn’t fared much better, also 25th (4.14).
Needless to say, the team needed to make a move for length from the bullpen to compensate for the rotation’s inefficiences.
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Vancouver-born Francis will be appearing with his sixth major-league team when he pitches in his first game with Toronto.
The Jays signed Francis to a minor-league deal in October, hoping he would provide pitching depth this season. But the 34-year-old had a tough spring, posting an 8.59 ERA in eight games.
Francis made just one start for Buffalo and threw five shutout innings.
He will become the fourth Canadian on Toronto’s 25-man roster this season, joining Dalton Pompey, Russell Martin and Michael Saunders. When he appears in a game, he will become the 22nd Canadian-born Blue Jay of all time.
Hynes wasn’t terrible in his three games, but with the need for length from pitchers, he became the odd-man out.
Francis now provides Gibbons with another left-handed option out of the ‘pen, with Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil.
Since Todd Redmond was designated for assignment last week, Francis also gives the team a left-handed long relief option to contrast Marco Estrada.
At the very least, the Blue Jays hope Francis can provide the other relievers a breather.