Hendriks ready to capitalize on opportunity in Toronto

Hendriks ready to capitalize on opportunity in Toronto

TORONTO -- Liam Hendriks has earned the opportunity to prove he's a big league starter, and he's hoping to make the most out of a second chance.

Hendriks, claimed off waivers from the Twins in Spring Training, had posted a 1.48 ERA in nine games with Triple-A Buffalo this season, but he had struggled at the Major League level the past three seasons.

He appeared in 30 games with Minnesota over that span, and could not find success. Hendriks only notched two wins in 28 starts, and in 2013 was 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA over eight starts and two relief appearances.

Hendriks was called up to fill the fifth spot in the Blue Jays' rotation, left vacant by Dustin McGowan, who's now pitching out of the bullpen.

After pitching 5 2/3 innings in a win over the A's on Friday, manager John Gibbons said Hendriks has earned another start. The 25-year-old Australian said he's ready to make the most out of his second chance.

"It's a huge thing for me," Hendriks said. "I was given an opportunity in Minnesota and I didn't capitalize on it. Now I have a different mindset of coming into the season, getting ready, getting aggressive and getting after guys early. I think it's paid dividends so far, and hopefully I can continue this trend and stay up here all year."

Hendriks allowed one run on three hits Friday, becoming the 40th pitcher in Blue Jays history to record a win in his first start with the team.

Hendriks said he's taking a more aggressive approach compared to previous seasons, and getting ahead in counts makes everything a little bit easier.

"I'm getting after guys," Hendriks said." It opens up a couple of more pitches that you can use, and you don't have to be as fine as I was trying to be when I was up there [with the Twins]. It's one of those things that I worked on with the pitching coach. ... It's really worked for me and I'm feeling comfortable on the mound again, which is huge."

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