View single post by lobo316
 Posted: Sun May 7th, 2017 07:34 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 14th, 2007
Location: Raptorville
Posts: 46060
The Toronto Blue Jays' beleaguered rotation is about to get some relief in the form of a bullpen ace.

Right-hander Joe Biagini, who became a staple of Toronto's bullpen as a rookie last year, will move into the rotation and make his first career start Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, manager John Gibbons told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.

While Gibbons seemed high on Biagini's potential as a long-term rotation piece - "He's got a chance to be a good one," the skipper told Nicholson-Smith on Friday - it's unclear if he'll make any more starts beyond Sunday.

Biagini will make his start on a strict 60-pitch limit, according to Sportsnet's Arash Madani. He's never thrown more than two innings in a single outing as a big leaguer, and only once - on Wednesday in New York, his most recent outing - has he tossed more than 40 pitches.

After using just seven starters in all of 2016, the Blue Jays' once-vaunted rotation has been hit hard by the injury bug this April, forcing them to get multiple starts out of Triple-A depth arms Mat Latos (who was DFA'd on Friday) and Casey Lawrence. With Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ still on the disabled list, the decision to stretch out Biagini despite his success as a reliever appears to have been an easy one for the club.

Biagini's last start came in 2015, while he was still in the San Francisco Giants' organization pitching in Double-A. In 22 starts (and 23 total appearances) that season with the Eastern League's Richmond Flying Squirrels, he posted a 2.42 ERA and averaged nearly six strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

The 26-year-old, known as much for his quirky sense of humor as his mound skills, owns a career 3.13 ERA while averaging 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 74 big-league appearances, all of them in relief. This season he's already struck out 17 batters to just three walks, along with a WHIP of 0.96 and one save.