Jenkins gets a look in Blue Jays' bullpen

Jenkins gets a look in Blue Jays' bullpen

TORONTO -- Chad Jenkins doesn't believe he's entitled to a spot on the Blue Jays roster. It's a distinction that's earned, he said prior to their home game against the Red Sox.

"This is the big leagues, the highest of the highs, so you've got to earn it," said Jenkins, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday night following Boston's 8-1 win over Toronto. To make room, Neil Wagner was optioned to the Minor Leagues.

"For me, every time out is a chance to earn it and show that I can play here, but not so much that I belong."

The 26-year-old will throw out of the bullpen for the time being. He's established himself as a versatile pitcher who can start, pitch multiple innings or come in for short relief. He's assumed each of those roles in the Major Leagues over the past two seasons, making six starts and 23 appearances for Toronto since 2012, compiling a 2-3 record with a 3.58 ERA entering Saturday.

"He's done a tremendous job for us," said manager John Gibbons. "We've called on him for a number of roles and he's excelled in different roles. He's a strike thrower, a ground-ball guy."

The team announced April 4 that they designated reliever Jeremy Jeffress for assignment and recalled Jenkins. But because of league rules that state that Jenkins wasn't eligible for a promotion until 10 games into the regular season, Marcus Walden's contract was purchased instead. Jenkins had a 2.30 ERA in 15 2/3 innings with Triple-A Buffalo in 2014.

He's primarily a sinker ball pitcher, but has been working on a slider since the end of last season, and he's growing more confident with the pitch every time he throws it.

"It's getting better," he said. "I'm not saying it's there every time ... [but] I have no problem going to it."

Jenkins relieved starter Brandon Morrow in the third inning on Saturday and allowed three earned runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings pitched. He also allowed all three inherited runners to score on a grand slam by A.J. Pierzynski -- the first pitcher he faced.

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.