TORONTO -- The Blue Jays decided to shake things up in their bullpen following Friday night's 8-1 loss to the Red Sox, recalling right-hander Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo and optioning right-hander Neil Wagner to the Minor Leagues.
Toronto manager John Gibbons hinted before the game that Jenkins "could be here any day" and it turns out he was right. The Blue Jays made the move to give themselves another versatile arm as Jenkins has the ability to throw multiple innings and can also be used in shorter stints.
There has been an ongoing debate for the past several years about Jenkins' future role with the organization, but Gibbons seems confident it should be in the bullpen.
"I think he could probably [start] too, but right now the thinking is, the way we're set right now, his most value would serve coming out of the 'pen," Gibbons said before the game.
"Throwing a few innings there, even some tough innings, I think he would be very good at it because he has had success up here. He hasn't been up here long, but he has been pretty good when he has been here."
The decision to send Wagner to the Minor Leagues came at least as somewhat of a surprise. Wagner had been a vital component of the bullpen since he was recalled from the Minors on April 9, posting a 3.12 ERA in 8 2/3 innings.
It's another indication that the Blue Jays are making a point to keep their pitchers who don't have options remaining on their contracts. Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond cannot be sent to the Minor Leagues without passing through waivers, while left-hander J.A. Happ could block a demotion because of his service time.
That left Wagner as the odd man out despite the fact that Rogers has a 6.23 ERA and has surrendered four home runs in nine appearances this season.
"Yeah definitely," Gibbons said when asked if the fact that Wagner had an option remaining was the reason he got sent down. "He's that guy. He'll be back."
Jenkins had a 2.30 ERA in 15 2/3 innings with Triple-A Buffalo. He has received brief stints in the Majors during each of the past two seasons and owns a 3.58 ERA in 65 1/3 career innings. The sinker is his best pitch, but the biggest area of improvement according to Gibbons has been Jenkins' slider.
"His big thing is his slider, so he has the sinker/slider and it has come a long way," Gibbons said. "It really has. He's a guy who gets out in the strike zone with that sinker and a lot of guys can't do that consistently. [He's] basically throwing one pitch."