The Toronto Blue Jays announced Wednesday afternoon ahead of the night game against the Baltimore Orioles that Trevor Richards had reported to the team and would be available for the game. In a corresponding move to make room for Richards on the 26-man roster, Trent Thornton was optioned to Triple-A.
Richards was acquired on Tuesday afternoon, along with 25-year old pitching prospect Bowden Francis. Richards will be joining his fourth franchise since the 2019 MLB Trade Deadline.
The undrafted right-handed pitcher started the season with divisional rival Tampa Bay where he posted a 4.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 12 innings before being traded to Milwaukee in late May. After being effective for the Brewers he became a trade target for the Blue Jays in an attempt to improve the bullpen. GM Ross Atkins continues to tinker with the relief pitching after also acquiring Adam Cimber just over a week ago.
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To make room on the roster, the team had to option Thornton to Triple-A, and if he makes an appearance it will be his first in a Bisons uniform as he has yet to play a minor league game in the Toronto organization since being acquired after the 2018 season ended.
Thornton had gone through a strong stretch from mid-April to the end of May that saw his ERA drop to 2.49 at one point, however, he has struggled since the calendar turned to June. Since June 2, Thornton has made 10 appearances for a total of 12.1 innings pitched, and had allowed 13 earned runs on 17 hits and four walks. His most recent outing was last night against the Orioles when he came into the game in relief trailing 4-1. After striking out his first batter, he followed that up with allowing a single, double, home run and a wild pitch that turned a three run deficit into a seven run runaway. Sending him down to the minors is a combination of him having options and helping him get back on track.
In other Blue Jays news, Thomas Hatch pitched five scoreless innings last night for the Buffalo Bisons, and while some, including myself believed that he may be destined for the bullpen this year, it looks more like the club is looking to stretch him out as a starter. Over seven starts and 24.1 innings pitched in Triple-A, Hatch has posted a 2.22 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.
With the recent additions, would you rather see Hatch as a starter or reliever for the remainder of the season?