Hendriks open to pitching in bullpen

Hendriks open to pitching in bullpen

TORONTO -- With Marcus Stroman recalled to start on Saturday for the Blue Jays against the Royals, it remains unclear what the future holds for Liam Hendriks.

Hendriks is 1-0 in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to fill the No. 5 spot in the Blue Jays' starting rotation after Dustin McGowan was moved to the bullpen.

But with six starters and a six-man bullpen, it is likely the Blue Jays will shuffle their pitching staff in the near future.

For now, Hendriks is slated to make his third start sometime next week, possibly as early as Wednesday. The 25-year-old right-hander hasn't been told when his next start will be, but he's preparing for it as if it were business as usual.

"We haven't had any discussions like that. I'm just playing it by ear," he said, "and telling them I can do whatever they want me to."

If it came to it, that would include pitching out of the bullpen, something he's done before at the Minor League and Major League levels. Hendriks came out of the 'pen twice while pitching for the Twins in 2013.

In those two outings, he threw 10 2/3 innings and 201 pitches. While his preference is to remain a starter, Hendriks said a relief role is not foreign to him and that he "wouldn't say no, obviously.

"If it's another opportunity for me, then I'll go and do it," he said. "You never know what's going to happen."

Hendriks has allowed two home runs and three walks in two games with the Blue Jays, and he was hit hard in his last outing against the Rays, with seven of his outs coming at the warning track.

But despite that, he said he's pleased with his results so far, which he credits to less self-imposed pressure.

"There have been times in each game where I haven't felt comfortable, but I've gotten past that," he said. "Hopefully my next start, I'll have time to work on some stuff and get my motion down pat."

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