TORONTO – David Carpenter became the 32nd different pitcher used by the Toronto Blue Jays after joining them Friday following a call-up from triple-A Las Vegas to replace injured third baseman Brett Lawrie.
The 27-year-old right-hander, acquired as part of the July 20 J.A. Happ deal with Houston, is another of the power arms the club envisions forming the core of a hard-throwing bullpen in years to come, although he was roughed up in his debut, allowing four runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. He was optioned after the game to the 51s to make room for utilityman Mike McCoy.
In eight previous games with the 51s, Carpenter was 0-1 with a 1.93 earned-run average over 9.1 innings, allowing eight hits and four walks with 14 strikeouts, displaying the type of swing-and-miss ability the Blue Jays dearly covet.
“Mainly just fastball-slider, four-seamers and the slider,” Carpenter said of his repertoire. “Other than that really haven’t tried to branch away from that too much. Especially normally being a one-inning guy, I’ve always been told that if you’ve got two pitches you can compete.
“Eventually I’m going to try to work on a third pitch, changeup or something of that nature.”
Carpenter pitched at the big-league level for the Astros in parts of the past two seasons, going a combined 1-5 with a 4.55 ERA in 64 games. Despite his age, the converted catcher remains young in his pitching career having only made the switch full-time in 2009.
He’s been described by some as promising but raw.
“I worked with (Vegas pitching coach Bob Stanley) a little bit on just getting the ball out of my glove,” said Carpenter. “It was just a slight mechanical issue, because every once in a while I have a tendency for the ball to ride up in the zone. So in order to kind of combat that, it was just getting the ball out in my delivery a little bit earlier to be able to work down in the zone a little better.”
Acquired along with Happ and reliever Brandon Lyon in exchange for Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, three prospects and a player to be named, Carpenter may end up being the most important piece in the deal for the Blue Jays since he’s under control through the 2017 season.
His first chance to leave an impression came and went quickly.
“I talked with Alex (Anthopoulos) a little bit (after the trade) and he said it was just a matter of going down there right now, getting used to the organization, getting to know some of the personnel and having a few eyes on me since they hadn’t really gotten an opportunity to see me much of this year,” said Carpenter. “It was definitely an opportunity to come up here and pitch; it was just a matter of continuing to improve. And I’m thankful I’ve got the opportunity to be here now.”
Now he must work towards getting another one.
ONE MORE FOR MORROW: Brandon Morrow may make his return to the Blue Jays next weekend against Texas provided his next rehab outing goes well.
The right-hander, out since June 12 with an oblique injury, is slated to start Tuesday for double-A New Hampshire with the goal of reaching 65-70 pitches, a bit less than the preferable 80-85 they had hoped for but enough to get him back to the big-leagues.
“The fact we’re carrying an extra pitcher right now, we could insert him in the rotation,” said manager John Farrell. “Let’s say he throws 70 pitches his next outing. When you bring him back to this level — any pitcher — you now are asking an awful lot more in terms of stress to each pitch. We wouldn’t increase the pitch count in his first time back here, so you know you’re going to go in with a shortened start to begin with, but with the additional pitcher that we’re carrying right now, we can handle that.”
While the Blue Jays have kicked around going with a six-man rotation, someone will need to be dropped since they intend to “keep it at five initially, because that kind of defeats the purpose of bringing him back with a shortened pitch count because you’d be overtaxing the bullpen again,” said Farrell.
A six-man staff could be considered “once he and J.A. Happ get stretched out to where they can go a minimum of 100 pitches, because if you’re running a six-man rotation and two guys can only go 85 pitches, you’re asking the bullpen to pitch an awful lot with a six-man rotation.”
SURGERY SUCCESS: Thursday’s surgeries on both Dustin McGowan and Drew Hutchison both went as planned, with McGowan getting a general cleanup of his right shoulder and Hutchison successfully getting a new ligament in his elbow.
McGowan’s procedure may be encouraging since no major problems were found during an operation that was exploratory in nature.
Hutchison’s Tommy John surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews who “said the surgery was a success,” according to a tweet from the rookie. “Now it’s just one day at a ti