The Blue Jays announced today that they have designated right-hander Arnold Leon for assignment in order to clear a spot on the active roster for ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte, who has been recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. (Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun first tweeted that Venditte was joining the big league club.)
Leon, 27, was acquired in a minor trade back in January after the A’s, too, designated him for assignment. Originally signed by the Athletics as an amateur free agent out of Mexico in 2008, Leon made his MLB debut last year and soaked up 26 1/3 innings with the A’s bullpen. In that time, he posted a 4.39 ERA and averaged 6.4 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 with a 45.9 percent ground-ball rate and a fastball that averaged 91.7 mph. This season, he’s allowed a pair runs in 2 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays.
Venditte, 30, also made his Major League debut as a member of the Oakland bullpen last season. The switch-pitcher logged a 4.40 ERA with 23 strikeouts against 12 walks in 28 2/3 innings, inducing grounders at a 32.9 percent clip. Venditte, whose entire pro career had come in the Yankes’ minor league system prior to last year, is considerably tougher when pitching left-handed, as evidenced by the woeful .116/.191/.256 batting line that opponents mustered in left-on-left scenarios in 2015. The Jays claimed him off waivers last October, and he’s fired two perfect innings with five strikeouts in Triple-A so far this year. With Aaron Loup on the disabled list and Brett Cecil struggling, Venditte will give manager John Gibbons an additional weapon to help neutralize left-handed opponents.