Injuries create opportunity for Cecil

Injuries create opportunity for Cecil

Injuries create opportunity for Cecil
TORONTO -- The dire situation the Blue Jays' pitching staff has found itself in has opened the door for Brett Cecil.

The left-hander was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday afternoon and is set to make his season debut on Sunday afternoon against Philadelphia.

Cecil was expected to open the season as the Blue Jays' No. 3 starter, but after an inconsistent Spring Training, he was instead optioned to the Minor Leagues. A series of injuries to the rotation has given Cecil a shot at redemption.

"He pitched very well in [Double-A New Hampshire]," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "The reports we got from the staff down there were very strong.

"We wanted to see -- it was just one start in Las Vegas -- how that was going to carry over, and [assistant GM] Tony LaCava was there and said he looked very good. So he has worked hard, he has maintained his approach, and we think he's going to be able to help the team."

Cecil struggled with control and a lack of velocity during the spring, but the Blue Jays maintain that some of those issues have been resolved. He reportedly has added a few miles per hour to his fastball, but more important, the overall command seems to have improved.

The 25-year-old posted a 3-2 record and 3.38 ERA in nine starts with New Hampshire. He also struck out 34 and walked just 14 in 42 2/3 innings before being promoted to Las Vegas.

Cecil was expected to stay in Las Vegas for an extended period of time, but the injuries forced the club's hand. Right-handers Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek were both placed on the 15-day disabled list this week, and there was a clear need for reinforcements.

"He just wasn't commanding the ball the way he has in the past," Anthopoulos said of Cecil's spring. "He has a plus changeup, throws strikes. That's one thing he has always done, so if he's not throwing strikes, he's not the same guy.

"I think he's in a great place right now. [He] understood going down [that he] needed to get himself right, and sounds like he did get himself right."

Toronto has yet to announce who will fill the second vacancy in the rotation. The Blue Jays will need a starter for Tuesday, and it's possible a third spot was created on Friday night, when right-hander Drew Hutchison was forced to leave his start after just nine pitches because of soreness in his right elbow.

Triple-A right-handers Jesse Chavez, Robert Coello and Joel Carreno were considered the main candidates for Tuesday's outing. It's now possible that two will get the call.