Hutchison's start provides relief for bullpen

Hutchison's start provides relief for bullpen

TORONTO -- Rookie right-hander Drew Hutchison provided the Blue Jays with a much-needed quality start on Monday night in a development that will go a long way toward helping an overtaxed bullpen.

The Blue Jays entered a three-game series against Baltimore with a depleted relief corps that forced the club into a series of roster moves in recent days. Toronto needed a total of 13 2/3 innings from its bullpen on Friday and Saturday, leaving the relievers fatigued at the beginning of the week.

Hutchison delivered with a career-high nine strikeouts over seven scoreless innings while topping out with a surprising 95-mph fastball.

"I think he found something out about himself last night, just with his intensity and use of his lower half in his legs that really created some additional velocity and what's really impressive is that he carried it through the seven innings," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.

"Maybe a little bit of an adjustment in his own attitude, the way he attacked brought out more power. When you look at it, his fastball graded out two grades better. I think he found something out about himself last night."

The extended outing meant the Blue Jays entered play on Tuesday with all eight of their relievers available for action. The team is still carrying an extra pitcher as a precautionary measure, but Farrell does not believe that will become a long-term solution to the problem.

Toronto likely will re-evaluate that situation on Thursday's off-day prior to a three-game set against division-rival Boston.

"Our rotation," Farrell said when asked what the deciding factor would be. "As long as they maintain what they've done for the majority of this year, we just want to make sure we don't have one of those games where we're right back into it where we're overusing guys."