HomeMLB RumorsBlue Jays To Recall Yariel Rodriguez

Blue Jays To Recall Yariel Rodriguez

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The Blue Jays are set to promote offseason signee Yariel Rodríguez, reports Francys Romero (X link). The Cuban-born righty will officially be recalled on Saturday, according to the report.

Rodríguez already occupies a spot on the Toronto 40-man roster. The Jays signed him to a five-year, $32MM free agent pact late in the winter. The 27-year-old might have been in consideration for the final rotation spot after Alek Manoah suffered a shoulder injury early in camp. Yet Rodríguez was slightly delayed in his own right by back spasms. He only made two Spring Training appearances as a result, tossing five innings of one-run ball.

The Jays tabbed Bowden Francis to step into Manoah’s vacated rotation spot. They optioned Rodríguez to Triple-A Buffalo to continue building his arm strength. He has pitched twice for the Bisons, working 6 1/3 scoreless frames while fanning 10 and issuing three walks. He has thrown 55 and 47 pitches in his respective appearances.

It’s fair to assume the Jays aren’t going to rely on Rodríguez to go 100+ pitches in his major league debut. He should be able to contribute in some form of multi-inning capacity out of the gate, though. That could take the form of long relief or a slightly abbreviated start. Rodríguez last pitched on Monday, so he’ll be on five days rest by the weekend.

The corresponding move isn’t clear, but the Jays currently list Francis as their probable starter for Saturday’s matchup with the Rockies. Francis’ first two major league starts have not gone well. The righty has been blitzed for 12 runs on as many hits in only 8 1/3 innings. He still has a minor league option remaining, so the Jays could send him to Buffalo if they wanted to swap Rodríguez into his place in the rotation. Alternatively, they could deploy Francis and Rodríguez in some form of tandem start, perhaps letting them each face the lineup twice without stretching their pitch counts too far.

However the Jays deploy Rodríguez, they’ll surely keep an eye on his innings tally as the season rolls along. His only competitive action in 2023 came during the World Baseball Classic. After that tournament, Rodríguez sat out the season as he waited for MLB to officially declare him a free agent. He pitched exclusively as a reliever with the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball two years ago, tossing 54 2/3 frames of 1.15 ERA ball. Rodríguez threw 94 2/3 innings between the Dragons and their minor league team in 2021. The heaviest workload of his career came in 2018, when he worked 133 1/3 innings as a 21-year-old in Cuba.

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