Upcoming starters remain up in the air
Blue Jays' upcoming starters up in the air
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have yet to make an announcement about who will start on Tuesday and Wednesday in Milwaukee.
A pair of openings in the rotation were created earlier this week when Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek were placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow injuries.
A trio of Minor Leaguers are being considered for Tuesday's outing, while Wednesday likely will be handed to either Carlos Villanueva or Aaron Laffey.
"Any time you lose three-fifths of your rotation, that's never a good series -- or homestand, or road trip, or wherever you are," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of losing three pitchers in a span of four games.
Right-hander Jesse Chavez appears to be the early favorite to make Tuesday's start. He has arguably been Triple-A Las Vegas' most valuable pitcher this season, posting a 7-2 mark and 3.84 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Fellow Minor Leaguers Joel Carreno and Scott Richmond also are in the mix, but both appear to be long shots at this point. An announcement is not expected until the club travels to Milwaukee for the start of a three-game series on Monday.
This won't be a short-term fix, either, as Drabek and Hutchison -- along with right-hander Brandon Morrow (strained left oblique) -- aren't expected back any time soon.
"All three of these are lengthy if you ask me, unfortunately," Farrell said.
Coello likely to see role expanded
TORONTO -- Robert Coello could become one of the main beneficiaries of the injury woes currently facing the Blue Jays' pitching staff.
Coello allowed one run over two innings on Saturday afternoon against Philadelphia, and along the way caught the attention of manager John Farrell.
"I thought Coello threw the ball really well last night," Farrell said. "When he pitches, he has always shown that he believes in himself. He has a lot of confidence in his fastball."
Coello has been promoted from the Minor Leagues twice this season, but has only made two appearances at the big league level. He has allowed just the two runs on five hits, while striking out six, in four innings of work entering Sunday.
The 27-year-old previously worked with Farrell in Boston, where he tossed 5 2/3 innings in six games. Since that time in 2010, the native of New Jersey has switched from a curveball to a slider, which has become one of the main reasons for his recent success.
"I think he has a natural cut to his fastball, but the ones that were in the 86-87 [mph] range, that's a little bit of a slider/cutter," Farrell said. "He's done a good job of bringing that along. Before, it was more of a show type curveball that he had and that funky forkball he has."
Coello isn't expected to enter the mix for Toronto's rotation, but he could find a home in long relief if Carlos Villanueva or Aaron Laffey are transitioned into a starting role.
Francisco making progress in rehab stint
TORONTO -- Ben Francisco made an appearance in the outfield on Saturday night for the first time since suffering a left leg injury while playing in a rehab game for Double-A New Hampshire.
Francisco has been out of action since May 21 because of a strained left hamstring. Francisco returned earlier this week in a designated-hitter role and so far has one hit in eight at-bats.
The 30-year-old veteran began the season as Toronto's fifth outfielder, but faces a somewhat uncertain future with the club having since explored other options.
"We have 20 days total to get him at-bats at the Minor League level before we have to activate him [or] option him," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We know he's a proven right-handed pinch-hitter that can come off the bench. We have to make sure that [his] hamstring is not an issue."
Francisco originally injured his hamstring during Spring Training and was never able to get completely healthy during his time in Toronto. He has appeared in just 16 games this season, posting a .206 average in 16 at-bats.
"It was lingering," Farrell said of the hamstring injury. "He was having lingering discomfort at times while he was here -- and then when we put him in right field, that's when it really showed up. That's when he finally went down with the injury. So, for him to come up, we have to make sure we give him ample time in the outfield."
In other injury news, Triple-A outfielder Moises Sierra was struck on the wrist by a pitch on Saturday night. X-rays were negative, but it wasn't immediately clear when he would be able to return to the lineup.
First baseman Adam Lind also had to miss some time this week at Las Vegas. The veteran infielder fouled a ball off his ankle, but was expected to return on Sunday.
"He went through full BP, ran the bases, full defensive work," Farrell said. "That was fine, no problems [on Saturday]."