Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays release pitcher Al Alburquerque

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DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Al Alburquerque #51 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a portrait on February 22, 2018 at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Al Alburquerque #51 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a portrait on February 22, 2018 at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Al Alburquerque had pitched for the Buffalo Bisons for the first half of the season after signing a minor league contract in the winter.

According to a team announcement, the Buffalo Bisons have released veteran righty Al Alburquerque. Alburquerque’s release, which was formally announced on Monday, also led to the promotion of fellow journeyman Craig Breslow from Double-A New Hampshire to Buffalo.

Alburquerque, now 32, hails from the Dominican Republic and has pitched a total of 245.0 major league innings in parts of seven big league seasons. Last year, split between the Royals and the White Sox, he pitched to a 2.50 ERA in 18.0 frames, striking out 14 and walking eight.

This year at Triple-A Buffalo, he pitched to a solid 3.77 ERA in 28.2 innings, striking out 27 and walking eight. He also saved four games and finished 12. Prior to his release, he was first on the team in games played, first in holds and second in saves.

Previously, the excellently named reliever had enjoyed mild success with the Tigers and the Angels, before falling into obscurity due to his high walk numbers (34 BB in 49.0 IP in 2013, 33 BB in 62.0 IP in 2015). Still, he managed to put together a decent campaign in Buffalo.

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On the flipside, lefty Craig Breslow will get the chance to play at a higher level in Buffalo. The former Cleveland Indian went on the disabled list earlier this year following his demotion to Double-A. For the season, he’s pitched to an ERA of 5.63 ERA in just 8.0 innings in New Hampshire, adding an inning as a member of the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and an inning as a member of the Bisons.

As minor as this move was, it truly highlights the striking lack of pitching depth in the upper minors. After fellow righties Danny Barnes and Ryan Tepera, Alburquerque appeared to be next in line for a bullpen spot.

Now Breslow jumps into the mix. If he can stay healthy (and consistent), he could get the call to the majors as the Jays attempt to keep their heads above water down the stretch.

Next: Blue Jays should target Brett Phillips from Brewers

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