MINNEAPOLIS -- It's been a reunion weekend of sorts for the Blue Jays as they're facing a couple of ex-teammates in their four-game series against the Twins. But don't be surprised if even the most die-hard of Toronto fans have a hard time remembering the contributions of these former Blue Jays.
Outfielder Darin Mastroianni and pitcher P.J. Walters each appeared in one game for Toronto last year, and each are making their Twins debut this weekend against the Jays.
Mastroianni was Toronto's 16th-round pick in the 2007 Draft and worked his way up through the Blue Jays' system before finally getting the call-up to the big club Aug. 24. But his stay in Toronto wasn't long. In fact, he only got the call because recently-acquired Kelly Johnson had to return to Arizona to pick up his passport, leaving the Blue Jays shorthanded for a home game against the Royals.
In his only game as a Blue Jay, Mastroianni played center field and batted ninth and went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt in a 4-3 win over Kansas City. He promptly returned to the minors and was designated for assignment after the season, allowing the Twins to claim him off waivers in February. They recalled him earlier this week, just in time to face his former team.
"It is pretty ironic. ... I know most of the guys over there," Mastroianni said. "Fortunately, I got a lot of that out in Spring Training -- the one game I did get to start was against them, so I got all that, 'Oh hey, it's good to see you guys' stuff out of the way. Now it's just a matter of playing and going out there and trying to help the team."
And help them he has. On Friday night, Mastroianni had two hits and drove in the Twins' final three runs in a 7-6 Minnesota victory.
Walters arrived in Toronto as part of the trade that brought Colby Rasmus from St. Louis last July 27. He pitched just once for the Blue Jays, throwing a scoreless inning of relief in a win over Baltimore on July 28 -- before ending the season in Triple-A, where he went 1-3 with an 8.38 ERA in Las Vegas.
The Blue Jays granted him free agency at the end of the season and he signed with the Twins in December. He went 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Rochester before being recalled to face his ex-team when the Twins sent Francisco Liriano to the bullpen earlier this week.