Blue Jays' rotation woes continue to affect 'pen

Blue Jays' rotation woes continue to affect 'pen

CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays' starting rotation was supposed to be their biggest strength but instead has became their biggest liability, and the ripple effect is now being felt in the bullpen.

Toronto's relief corps finished Friday's 13-3 loss having tossed the second-most innings in the American League. The consistently high workload has led to a revolving-door roster and a manager in John Gibbons who frequently has his hands tied when determining who he can use and when.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays can't match Indians' 8-run frame

Blue Jays can't match Indians' 8-run frame

CLEVELAND -- The Indians returned to Cleveland desperately needing a victory after beginning their second half with a 1-5 West Coast road trip. The Tribe did just that in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night at Progressive Field, scoring 12 unanswered runs to win, 13-3, behind a four-run fifth inning and an eight-run seventh.

Edwin Encarnacion finished with three hits and four RBIs, including a solo homer and the go-ahead two-run double in the fifth. Abraham Almonte connected for a three-run homer in the seventh, and Bradley Zimmer drove in two with a single. Erik Gonzalez, Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana added RBI knocks.

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William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland who covered the Indians on Friday.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez may be headed back to DL with blister

Sanchez may be headed back to DL with blister

CLEVELAND -- Aaron Sanchez was scheduled to visit a hand specialist on Friday afternoon and it seems another stint on the disabled list will be required because of a blister.

Sanchez has been on the 10-day DL three times already this season because of a blister on his right middle finger that just won't go away. It now seems like a fourth is all but a foregone conclusion after his throwing off flat ground on Friday was canceled in favor of a visit from the doctor.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stroman ready to continue rolling vs. Tribe

Stroman ready to continue rolling vs. Tribe

Right-hander Danny Salazar will make his long-awaited return to the Indians rotation when Cleveland continues its three-game series against the Blue Jays on Saturday at Progressive Field.

Salazar has not pitched at the big league level since June 3 because of a right shoulder injury. He's coming off an extended rehab stint, which saw him make four starts with six earned runs over 16 innings.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reid-Foley racks up 12 K's for Fisher Cats

Reid-Foley racks up 12 K's for Fisher Cats

It's not a secret that when Touki Toussaint is right he can miss bats with the best of them.

That was the case on Friday, as the Braves' No. 11 prospect matched his career highs with 11 strikeouts in eight innings as he recorded his second straight double-digit strikeout performance for Class A Advanced Florida.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In breakout year, Smoak sets another mark

Blue Jays slugger plates 3 on 2-HR day, giving him career-high 62 RBIs

In breakout year, Smoak sets another mark

BOSTON -- Justin Smoak's breakthrough season seems to be getting better and better with each passing day. In June, it was a new a career high in home runs and in July, it's a career high in RBIs.

Smoak surpassed another personal milestone during Toronto's 8-6 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park. He went 3-for-5 with two homers, a pair of runs scored and three RBIs to bring his season total to 62, a personal best.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Smoak, 'pen secure series split for Blue Jays

Smoak, 'pen secure series split for Blue Jays

BOSTON -- A stout Blue Jays bullpen was up to the task for seven-plus innings Thursday afternoon, helping Toronto escape Fenway Park with an 8-6 win over the Red Sox and a split of the four-game series.

Following a rough 1 2/3-inning performance from starter Francisco Liriano, the 'pen inherited a 3-1 deficit in the second. Right-hander Dominic Leone calmed the storm, striking out four in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

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Evan Chronis is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Red Sox on Thursday.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bolsinger to DL with left knee inflammation

Blue Jays call up journeyman Valdez in corresponding move

Bolsinger to DL with left knee inflammation

BOSTON -- The Blue Jays placed right-hander Mike Bolsinger on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday afternoon with inflammation in his left knee.

Bolsinger surrendered a walk-off homer to Hanley Ramirez during the 15th inning of Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Red Sox. Prior to the home run, he had tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts without allowing a hit or a walk.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays can't climb out of early hole vs. Sox

Blue Jays can't climb out of early hole vs. Sox

BOSTON -- Finally, the Red Sox could relax a little.

After a string of tension-filled games coming out of the All-Star break, the bats strung together some early offense and Drew Pomeranz made it stand up, lifting Boston to a 5-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Romano spins a gem for Dunedin

Romano spins a gem for Dunedin

Astros prospects Daz Cameron and Ronnie Dawson put up monster numbers to help lead Class A Quad Cities to a 20-3 win over Lansing on Wednesday night.

The duo combined to go 6-for-9 with two triples, three home runs, four runs scored and eight RBIs on a night where everything went right for the River Bandits' offense.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays grab lead in 11th, but lose in 15th

Blue Jays grab lead in 11th, but lose in 15th

BOSTON -- Hanley Ramirez sent everyone home early Wednesday morning with a walk-off homer that soared over the Green Monster, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays in 15 innings at Fenway Park.

The blast was struck with one out against Mike Bolsinger and went a projected distance of 439 feet, per Statcast™.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bolsinger 2nd Blue Jay to post 4-K inning

Righty allows walk-off HR after retiring 10 out of 11 Red Sox hitters

Bolsinger 2nd Blue Jay to post 4-K inning

BOSTON -- Mike Bolsinger's outing against the Red Sox on Tuesday night ended on a sour note, but not before he found a place in the Blue Jays' record books.

Bolsinger became the second pitcher in franchise history to strike out four batters in the same inning. He didn't allow a run for 3 1/3 frames until Boston's Hanley Ramirez spoiled everything with a walk-off homer that sent the Blue Jays to a 5-4 loss in 15 innings.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Guerrero Jr. heating up for Dunedin

Guerrero Jr. heating up for Dunedin

Tyler O'Neill has plenty of power and he showed it off with home runs in each game of Triple-A Tacoma's doubleheader split against Albuquerque.

O'Neill, the No. 29 overall prospect (Mariners No. 2) is heating up lately, having homered in three straight games and boasting a .327 average through 14 games this month.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Smith appears ready to rejoin Toronto 'pen

Club to add fresh arms after 15-inning loss; Liriano on track to start Thursday

Smith appears ready to rejoin Toronto 'pen

BOSTON -- The Blue Jays are expected to add another piece to their bullpen Wednesday afternoon with the likely return of right-hander Joe Smith.

Smith has been out since June 14 with soreness in his right shoulder. He made a pair of recent relief appearances for Triple-A Buffalo, with the latest outing a scoreless inning Monday night.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pillar named Heart and Hustle Award winner

Pillar named Heart and Hustle Award winner

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association revealed the 30 preliminary winners of the 2017 Heart and Hustle Award on Tuesday. The honor is the only one voted on by former players, and is bestowed each year upon the active player who most represents a passion for the game of baseball, and best embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game.

Past winners of the Heart and Hustle Award include David Eckstein (2005), Hall of Famer Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012), Dustin Pedroia (2013), Josh Harrison (2014), Anthony Rizzo (2015) and Todd Frazier (2016).

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pearce heating up, but may be trade chip

Versatile Blue Jays vet rips HR, go-ahead single

Pearce heating up, but may be trade chip

BOSTON -- It took longer than initially expected, but the Blue Jays are starting to see a strong return on one of their key offseason additions.

Steve Pearce got off to a rough start, and his year went from bad to worse following an extended absence with a calf injury. Since his return in late June, though, Pearce has been everything the Blue Jays could have hoped for, with the latest example coming during a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox on Monday night at Fenway Park.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays edge Sox after late Boston rally

Blue Jays edge Sox after late Boston rally

BOSTON -- The Blue Jays bent, but they did not break in a pivotal series opener against the division-rival Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Toronto is trying to keep its postseason hopes alive in the days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Monday night's 4-3 victory over the first-place Red Sox was a small step in that direction. Steve Pearce homered and hit the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth while Kendrys Morales chipped in with a two-run double.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Evan Chronis is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Red Sox on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pentecost stays hot for Dunedin

Pentecost stays hot for Dunedin

J.P. Crawford's season has been a struggle, but the Phillies No. 1 prospect has shown signs of life lately, including a 2-for-4 performance in Triple-A Lehigh Valley's 8-4 win over Gwinnett on Monday.

The No. 4 overall prospect hit his eighth homer of the season, a two-run blast in the fifth, and boosted his average to .221 - the highest it's been all year - as he continues to start the second half on a high note.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers spoil Toronto's three-homer day in 11

Tigers spoil Toronto's three-homer day in 11

DETROIT -- The Tigers withstood a barrage of Blue Jays home runs to take the rubber match of a three-game series at Comerica Park. Miguel Cabrera's bases-loaded walk forced home Alex Avila in the 11th inning for a 6-5 win Sunday afternoon.

On a day when Toronto starter Marco Estrada struggled to find the strike zone and threw 94 pitches over just 3 2/3 innings, Jose Bautista's go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning had the Blue Jays in position to take the series. However, J.D. Martinez had other plans, tying the game with an eighth-inning solo home run that just made it over the right-field wall off Danny Barnes. It was initially ruled to be a double before a crew chief review overturned the call.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Blue Jays on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen works overtime in extra-innings loss

Bullpen works overtime in extra-innings loss

DETROIT -- Just three games removed from the All-Star break and with seven games to go on a lengthy road trip, Toronto's seemingly taxed bullpen was the last topic manager John Gibbons wanted to discuss.

"I don't care about that," he said after the Blue Jays' 6-5 loss to Detroit in 11 innings on Sunday. "That's the way Major League pitching staffs go. Some days, you get an extra-inning game and the starter doesn't last long. That's what happens."

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Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Blue Jays on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays stumble after Liriano's early exit

Blue Jays stumble after Liriano's early exit

DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer missed out on pitching in the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard earlier this week, but he continues to pitch like an All-Star. His eight innings of two-hit ball lifted the Tigers to an 11-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday at Comerica Park.

Hours after Tigers players and coaches held a team meeting to discuss their struggles, Fulmer (10-6) did his part to end them, holding the Blue Jays to singles from Kendrys Morales in the second inning and Troy Tulowitzki in the eighth, along with a Jose Bautista leadoff walk in the fourth. Bautista came around to score on a wild pitch and back-to-back groundouts, but Fulmer retired Toronto's next 13 batters before Tulowitzki's infield single.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Blue Jays on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Biagini making smooth transition back to 'pen

Reliever building confidence after filling temporary starter role

Biagini making smooth transition back to 'pen

DETROIT -- Before Friday's game, Toronto manager John Gibbons talked about using reliever Joe Biagini in low-leverage situations. The goal was to work him back into a groove as he transitioned from his fill-in starting role to a relief spot, where he'd had so much success a year ago.

After the Blue Jays put up three runs in the top of the eighth to secure a six-run cushion, Gibbons called on Biagini, who turned in a clean inning of relief.

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Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pearce, Bautista homer in win over Tigers

Pearce, Bautista homer in win over Tigers

DETROIT -- Aaron Sanchez looked more like himself Friday night, outdueling Justin Verlander with six strong innings, allowing one unearned run as the Blue Jays opened their second half with a 7-2 win over the Tigers to begin a critical three-game series for both clubs at Comerica Park.

"He looked like the old guy today," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That's a good sign."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Blue Jays on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays lean on pitching in important stretch

Blue Jays lean on pitching in important stretch

DETROIT -- Amid the traffic jam in the American League Wild Card standings, Toronto opens its longest road trip of the season with a chance to gain ground on some of the league's top teams -- or at least try to keep pace.

"It's a big stretch, we know that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the 10-game trip, which has stops in Detroit, Boston and Cleveland. "The beginning of the month was a big stretch and we didn't make up much ground, I know that. And of course, you've got the [non-waiver] Trade Deadline looming and all that. So this is an important month for us to make a move."

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Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Urena, Ramirez, Jansen thrive for Fisher Cats

Urena, Ramirez, Jansen thrive for Fisher Cats

The ball has been flying out of the park lately for Jordan Patterson -- a trend that continued on Friday as he connected on a pair of home runs for a second straight game to lead Triple-A Albuquerque past Las Vegas, 7-2.

The Rockies' No. 15 prospect homered in his first two at-bats, hitting solo shots to lead off the second and fourth innings, respectively, before tallying a pair of singles to finish the game 4-for-5 with three RBIs.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays look to stay intact, but get younger

Shapiro says club will not be major sellers at Trade Deadline

Blue Jays look to stay intact, but get younger

TORONTO -- Mark Shapiro has all but officially ruled out the Blue Jays embarking on a full-blown rebuild, but some changes to an aging roster should still be expected in the weeks leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Toronto's president of baseball operations has been making the media rounds in recent weeks to speak out against the rampant speculation that his club will become major sellers at the Deadline. Some deals will be made, but likely not the ones a lot of fans may have been expecting earlier this month.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: How likely is Stroman to be traded?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers fans' questions

Inbox: How likely is Stroman to be traded?

Do you think the Blue Jays are going to trade Marcus Stroman? I hope not but there have been so many rumors!
-- Stephanie T., Waterloo, Ontario

Here's the problem with trading Stroman: Who replaces him in the rotation? And I'm not referring to just this season but also 2018 and beyond. The only starting pitchers Toronto has under control beyond this season are Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ. Joe Biagini likely becomes the fourth but that still leaves a big hole, and another would be created by trading Stroman. If Toronto made that kind of move, it would not only be punting this season but also 2018 and possibly even '19. He remains under control through the '20 season, and it's possible a time will come when the club looks to deal him, but that time is not now.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.