- Steve Pearce became the latest member of the Blue Jays to land on the disabled list, as the infielder/outfielder suffered a calf injury last night and was placed on the 10-day DL today following an MRI. The Jays announced the injury as a right calf strain and did not offer a timeline on Pearce’s absence. Right-hander Leonel Campos is up from Triple-A to give the relief corps a quick boost, though as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets, that gives the Jays a two-man bench and a nine-man bullpen. As such, it seems likely that a reliever will be sent down soon. On a more positive note for Toronto fans, the team also announced that Troy Tulowitzki began a rehab assignment today, suggesting that he’s quite near to a return.
- Steve Pearce left today’s Blue Jays victory with right calf tightness after sliding into second base on a double in the second inning. Manager John Gibbons told MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson and other reporters that Pearce will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. The veteran utilityman is off to a very slow start in his first season in Toronto, hitting just .205/.256/.373 through 90 PA, though he has somewhat gotten on track after a horrible April. Losing Pearce to the DL would be yet another blow to the injury-ravaged Jays, though they did get Aaron Sanchez back on the active roster today.
Reliever Neil Ramirez, whom the Blue Jays designated for assignment on Tuesday, has rejected an outright demotion to Triple-A in favor of free agency, per a team announcement.
The 27-year-old Ramirez didn’t last long with the Toronto organization, which claimed him off waivers from the Giants on May 4 and designated him less than a week later. Ramirez’s only action this year has come with San Francisco, with which he threw 10 1/3 innings and, despite racking up 18 strikeouts against four walks, allowed 15 earned runs on 16 hits.
Ramirez, once an effective option with the Cubs from 2014-15, is now primed to endure his second straight nomadic season. He was a member of the Cubs, Brewers and Twins a year ago, when his issued preventing runs first cropped up. Thanks to both a 21.1 percent home run-to-fly ball ratio and a 6.75 BB/9, Ramirez pitched to a 6.00 ERA in a combined 24 innings with those clubs.
- The Blue Jays have outrighted reliever Neil Ramirez to Triple-A Buffalo, per a team announcement. Ramirez, whom the Jays designated Thursday, came over from San Francisco via waivers on May 4 and hasn’t yet thrown a pitch with the Toronto organization. Despite piling up 18 strikeouts against four walks as a Giant this season, the 27-year-old Ramirez managed an 8.71 ERA in 10 1/3 innings with the club.
The Blue Jays announced that left-hander Francisco Liriano has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to inflammation in his left shoulder. Righty Leonel Campos has been called up from Triple-A Buffalo in a corresponding move. While Liriano becomes the third Blue Jays starter to land on the disabled list (joining J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez), Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that the team is hopeful that Liriano won’t need to spend more than the minimum 10 days on the shelf. Right-hander Mike Bolsinger will remain in the rotation and make what would’ve been Liriano’s next scheduled start on Monday, per Nicholson-Smith.
The Mariners have claimed righty Casey Lawrence from the Blue Jays, as Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune first reported on Twitter. The club has announced the move, with Evan Scribner moving to the 60-day DL to create 40-man space.
The 29-year-old Lawrence will report to Triple-A Tacoma, where he’ll provide the Seattle organization with an additional depth option. He had made two starts and two relief appearances at the MLB level for the Jays, though those didn’t go particularly well.
Over 13 1/3 innings frames with Toronto — the first of his career in the big leagues — Lawrence surrendered 13 earned runs on 21 hits with a less-than-ideal 7:11 K/BB walk rate. That said, Lawrence has also turned in three strong starts at Triple-A this year (allowing just one earned in ten innings) and has been a sturdy (if unspectacular) performer in the upper minors in recent years.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that they’ve designated right-hander Neil Ramirez for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man and 25-man roster for fellow righty Mike Bolsinger, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Buffalo. Bolsinger is slated to make a spot start for the Jays with J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list.
The 27-year-old Ramirez had just been claimed off waivers. Though he was added to the active roster briefly, he did not see any game action for the Jays. Earlier, with the Giants, Ramirez turned in 10 1/3 confounding innings in which he allowed 15 earned runs but also racked up 18 strikeouts against just four walks. Presumably, Toronto will hope for a chance to keep him in the minors if he clears waivers.
Bolsinger, 29, had a 1.46 ERA with an 18-to-3 K/BB ratio in 12 1/3 Triple-A innings thus far in 2017. That’s a considerable improvement over his 2016 work, when he logged a 6.83 ERA in 27 2/3 big league innings due largely to a troubles with the long ball. He did have solid K/BB numbers in both the Majors and the minors last year, however. Bolsinger had a strong season in the Majors as recently as 2015, when he logged a 3.62 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 53.1 percent ground-ball rate in 109 1/3 innings for the Dodgers.
10:11am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets are not signing Fister. He characterizes the Angels as one of multiple “serious considerations” for Fister.
9:48am: Free-agent right-hander Doug Fister is close to signing with a yet-unreported team, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). Though Fister has had interest from both the AL and NL, he’s likely to land with a National League club, per Heyman. In a second tweet, Heyman notes that the D-backs are “in the mix” on Fister, adding that he hasn’t heard much tying him to the Mets as of late. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets that the Mets, D-backs, Giants, Angels and Blue Jays have all been in the mix to varying extents.
From the listed teams, the Mets jump out as the club in most dire need of rotation reinforcements, as New York has lost Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo to injuries already, while right-handers Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler have all struggled thus far in 2017. The Mets are hopeful that Matz and Lugo will be able to return in late May or early June, though there’s no guarantee that either comes back at full strength just yet. And Wheeler, of course, is on an innings limit in 2017 after missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery.
The D-backs, of course, have had their own brush with injuries, having lost right-hander Shelby Miller for the season due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament that necessitated Tommy John surgery. Arizona, though, seemingly has better depth at the upper levels of its farm, with Braden Shipley, Anthony Banda and Zack Godley among the potential rotation options currently in Triple-A (to say nothing of right-hander Archie Bradley, who is currently in the Major League bullpen but could likely start if deemed necessary).
As for the Giants, they lost Madison Bumgarner for what will likely be most of the first half of the season, if not more, due to a controversial dirtbike accident that resulted in a shoulder injury. None of the Giants’ other starters — Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore, Matt Cain or Ty Blach — has mustered an ERA south of 4.50 on the season. The Giants also traded one of their upper-level depth options, Clayton Blackburn, to the Rangers earlier this year. However, with Tyler Beede and Chris Stratton both in Triple-A, the Giants do possess some upper-level options should they decide to shuffle the rotation.
The Angels and Blue Jays, of course, both have plenty of cause to seek rotation help as well. However, Heyman seems to suggest that an AL club isn’t as likely, and that’s a logical line of thinking for Fister, who could likely post better numbers in the National League.
It should be noted that Fister is hardly a quick fix for any team’s rotation; the right-hander will almost certainly need a fair amount of time to ramp up before he’s ready to join a Major League rotation. And while he comes with plenty of name value, Fister’s fastball has been in the 86-87 mph range in recent seasons. Unsurprisingly, there’s been a corresponding dip in his effectiveness. Last year he proved a durable rotation piece for the Astros (32 starts) but logged just a 4.64 ERA with 5.7 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 180 1/3 innings.
The Blue Jays have placed catcher Russell Martin on the 10-day DL, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca was among those to report (Twitter links). Mike Ohlman will come up from Triple-A to take his roster spot, with the club designating righty Casey Lawrence for assignment to open a 40-man spot.
Martin is dealing with a nerve problem in his left shoulder that has been an ongoing issue since the spring, per the report. Though he has obviously been playing through it thus far, a recent collision made things worse and evidently pushed the team to give him a lengthier rest.
While it seems reasonable to hope that Martin won’t be out for long, the Jays will be left with a less-than-ideal situation in the interim. Ohlman will pair with Luke Maile, who was recently added via waiver claim.
The 26-year-old Ohlman is headed to the majors for the first time. He has had some strong years at the plate at times in the minors, and was off to an excellent start this year at Triple-A. Through 85 plate appearances, Ohlman is slashing .246/.388/.594 with seven home runs.
Lawrence, 29, has been utilized as an optionable swingman this year, providing some much-needed flexibility. But he had struggled through 13 1/3 innings, allowing 13 earned runs on 21 hits while recording just seven strikeouts against 11 free passes.
The Blue Jays announced that right-hander Mat Latos has cleared outright waivers. The veteran righty could have elected free agency following his outright but will instead report to the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo tonight, per the Jays.
Latos, still just 29 years of age, made three starts for the Jays after having his contract selected from Buffalo last month. Though he turned in one scoreless six-inning performance, his aggregate work in Toronto left plenty to be desired; Latos ultimately yielded 11 earned runs on 19 hits and eight walks with 10 strikeouts before being designated for assignment last week when the club claimed right-hander Cesar Valdez from the A’s.
Once one of the game’s more reliable young starters, Latos hasn’t turned in an effective season since a 2014 campaign that was shortened by knee surgery. Since that time, Latos has struggled to a 5.05 earned run average in 201 1/3 innings between the Marlins, Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, Nationals and Blue Jays.
Given the injuries the Blue Jays have experienced in their rotation this season, it’s feasible that Latos could once again be called upon as a depth option — especially if the Jays aren’t able to turn things around and elect to sell off some more marketable veteran assets at the trade deadline this summer (e.g. Francisco Liriano, Marco Estrada). The Jays are currently 11-20 and sit 10 games out of the division lead in the American League East.