The Buffalo Bisons have just encountered a spate of injuries to their pitchers. In one day, Sean Nolin (already injured) was hit by a line drive in a simulated game, Rob Rasmussen was hit by a ball in a real game, Ricky Romero came out of that game due to calf problems and Neil Wagner had some forearm tightness.
Joining Wagner and Nolin on the DL was John Stilson. The Blue Jays also called up Chad Jenkins today while returning Bobby Korecky and Liam Hendriks have been returned to the Bisons from the Blue Jays but this means that there were still two open spots on the roster. The Blue Jays have rectified that problem by promoted lefty Richard Bleier to the Buffalo Bisons along with Radhames Liz who is scheduled to start on Wednesday.
The Bisons are still shorthanded a bit, with Romero and Rasmussen still possibly being evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
What does this do to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ pitching staff? The pitchers for the Jays’ Double-A affiliate have been filtering up to Buffalo all season with Shawn Hill, Deck McGuire, Richard Bleier and Gregory Infante all heading up to Buffalo (joined now by Liz). At last count, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have just 23 players on their roster and just 10 pitchers (with two on the DL).
The big question is who will fill the holes on New Hampshire roster? Casey Lawrence was placed on the 7-day DL on May 31 (retroactive to May 30) which means that he won’t be eligible to be activated until June 5 if he’s healthy. Scott Gracey is eligible to be activated from the DL (having been placed on it retroactively to May 19) but again, we have no idea if he’s actually healthy or not. The Blue Jays (and their minor league affiliates) are incredibly secretive about their minor league injuries and it’s very difficult to figure out if a player could be activated unless you’re actually able to watch pre-game warmups and drills to see who’s participating.
With only one DL-ed pitcher available to be activated (if healthy), that means that there are two spots up for grabs. With Blake McFarland and Arik Sikula already up from Dunedin, there remains only a couple of real candidates. Matt Boyd getting promoted back to Double-A again (especially after a nine-strikeout performance in his return to Dunedin) is certainly not out of the question. I’d also expect to see Taylor Cole next in line, thanks to his age (24) and his staggering strikeout totals (11.1 K/9) so far this season in Dunedin.
Of course, this conversation wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Daniel Norris (whose name, of course, was being used as click bait in the title), who, at only 21 years old, has been dominant in the Florida State League and is probably looking at a mid-season call up anyways. Does he get the call a little earlier than expected?
I actually think that Norris could very well get the call, especially if the Blue Jays think that Boyd could use a little more time to work on whatever he failed to do successfully in Double-A. But I think that Norris’s age and the Blue Jays’ tendency to be very cautious with their young pitchers means that I’m leaning more towards Cole and/or Boyd than the 21-year-old lefty.
Who do you think will fill the gap in the New Hampshire pitching staff? Let us know in the comments!
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