Blue Jays add Carreno to bullpen

Blue Jays add Carreno to bullpen

Blue Jays add Carreno to bullpen
OAKLAND -- Right-hander Joel Carreno officially joined the Blue Jays on Friday afternoon and even though he was battling a case of sleep deprivation, you couldn't tell by the wide grin on his face.

Toronto recalled Carreno to take the place of left-hander Brad Mills, who was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday. Carreno, who has never pitched in the Majors, was originally scheduled to join the club late Thursday night but his flight from Washington, D.C., was cancelled.

The club offered to get him a hotel room around 1 a.m. ET when it heard the news, but manager John Farrell said Carreno didn't want to go anywhere.

"He had a 6 o'clock [a.m] flight," Farrell said. "I think he was so excited to get to the big leagues he said, 'I'm not leaving here, I'm not missing that next flight.' So he spent the night in the airport."

Carreno will be used out of Toronto's bullpen after moving through the Minor League ranks as a starter. He went 7-9 with a 3.41 ERA while striking out 152 in 134 2/3 innings this season for Double-A New Hampshire.

That high strikeout rate combined with a plus slider and low 90s fastball have caught the attention of the Blue Jays organization. For the past year, he has been pegged as a candidate to assume a late-inning-relief job.

"You know when you're a starter you're going to go six, seven innings," said Carreno, who thought he might be able to add a little bit of velocity to his fastball. "The difference when you come out of the bullpen, you're going to throw, maybe, two, three innings."

Carreno spent the past two offseasons pitching out of the bullpen in winter ball for Escondido in the Dominican Republic. He served in a similar role during Spring Training with Toronto, but Farrell said the club wants to do everything possible to ensure his latest transition to that role will be an easy one.

At least at the beginning, Toronto will avoid using Carreno in the middle of an inning.

"What we'd look to do is finish off an inning with a reliever ... and give him a chance to come in with a clean inning," Farrell said. "Start an inning off and be sure we give him ample time to get loose and get warm in a proper manner."