Crawford gets call in Santos' absence

Crawford gets call in Santos' absence

Crawford gets call in Santos' absence
TORONTO -- Left-hander Evan Crawford turned an impressive showing this spring into an early promotion to the Major Leagues.

Crawford was recalled by the Blue Jays on Friday afternoon after closer Sergio Santos was placed on the paternity list.

Santos was expected to miss just one game, so it's possible Crawford's stint in the Majors could be a short one. But that didn't change the rookie's demeanor prior to Friday's matchup against the Orioles.

"Greatest baby ever," Crawford said with a wide grin in reference to Santos' wife giving birth this week. "[Getting called up is] just a moment that you grow up as a little kid and it's always what you wanted. It's something special for sure."

Crawford became one of the bigger storylines this spring, as both manager John Farrell and GM Alex Anthopoulos went out of their way to praise the rising prospect.

The 25-year-old possesses a fastball that tops out around 94 mph and uses a lethal curveball-slider combination to post impressive numbers on the mound. This season with Double-A New Hampshire, Crawford hasn't allowed a run in four innings.

"He has two above-average breaking pitches, both curveball and slider," Farrell said. "Any time you're looking at a left-hander with swing-and-miss capability, he's got three very good weapons that he can attack good Major League hitters with. I know he hasn't thrown his first pitch at the Major League level, but he has very good stuff and we wouldn't be afraid to match him up against some of those left-handers that we'll face."

Toronto has eight relievers in its bullpen, which has pitched more innings (25 1/3) than any other club in the American League. When Santos returns, it likely will be between Crawford and fellow left-hander Aaron Laffey as the candidate to be sent down.

Crawford hasn't received any guarantees about how long his stint in Toronto will last or what his role will be. But for at least one day, he was just happy to be on a big league field.

"Always want to make an impression wherever you're at," said Crawford, who went 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 51 innings for New Hampshire last year. "Obviously I want to come in and pitch well, help the team win. That's what the overall goal is."