Mills auditions for spot in next year's rotation

Mills auditions for spot in next year's rotation

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have a surplus of young pitching in the fold and only so many rotation spots to go around. For Brad Mills, his promotion to Toronto is a chance to put himself in position to make a run at a full-time job for next season.

With a solid front four of Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil and Brandon Morrow, the Blue Jays may only have one rotation vacancy next spring. If the club looks to fill that spot internally, the top candidates would seem to include Marc Rzepczynski, Jesse Litsch, Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart.

Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said Mills -- a fourth-round pick by the club in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft -- belongs in that group as well.

"He fits in there," Gaston said. "All those guys are competing for a job, competing for that fifth job."

Two springs ago, the 25-year-old Mills entered camp as a front-runner for a starting job. That was when Marcum was sidelined with a right elbow injury and before Romero and Cecil emerged as solid big league arms. Gaston said Mills could find himself in the mix for an Opening Day job again, though.

"His first Spring Training," Gaston said, "a lot of guys picked him to make that club. I think the more I see, and I haven't seen him all that much, he's not overpowering, but he knows how to pitch. He's learning how to pitch."