OAKLAND -- Carlos Villanueva and Brett Cecil have filled in admirably to help stabilize a Blue Jays rotation decimated by injury.
But the question hanging over their heads is what will happen to each long-term. Starters Brandon Morrow and Drew Hutchison will return from the DL at some point this season, and Blue Jays manager John Farrell has made no secret of the fact that he's looking to get recent acquisition J.A. Happ into his more natural starting role at some point soon.
For Cecil, that question was answered after his start on Friday night. Though he had pitched decently in his last three outings, the left-hander gave up four runs in five innings against the A's, and that was enough to warrant a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Happ in the rotation.
Farrell said Cecil will continue to start for the 51s, as he did for Toronto, even though Farrell hinted before Friday's game that Cecil's propensity for getting left-handed hitters out could give him a role in the big league team's bullpen if he lost his rotation spot.
Villanueva's spot is clearly more secure, and Farrell was more direct when addressing the right-hander's future, should he eventually leave the rotation.
"Based on our experience in the last year and a half with [Villanueva], I think he's a very valuable pitcher to be able to provide a swingman role," Farrell said. "And that's not to say he's not a capable starter, but the thing that we can't overlook is the durability on a long-term basis.
"There's a point where the physical component has got to be monitored very closely."
In addition to demoting Cecil after Friday's game, the Blue Jays designated reliever Andrew Carpenter for assignment. The right-hander had a 5.00 ERA in six games for Toronto.
Those moves cleared room for the call-ups of right-hander Jesse Chavez and infielder Adeiny Hechavarria from Las Vegas. Farrell said Chavez, who has accrued 20 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays this season, will be used in a long relief role.
The 23-year-old Hechavarria will be making his Major League debut when he appears for Toronto. He'll sub for the injured Brett Lawrie at third base for the time being, and can also play the middle infield.