TORONTO – Daniel Norris will remain in the triple-A Buffalo Bisons rotation and make his next start as scheduled Tuesday against Pawtucket, with his role to be re-evaluated after the outing.
The approach is a shift in how the Toronto Blue Jays plan to handle the highly touted pitching prospect, who was initially slated to move into the bullpen after his start Thursday.
Between three levels this season, Norris has thrown a total of 118.2 innings, a nearly 31 percent jump from the 90.2 frames he accumulated last year.
While conventionally a rough guideline for workload increases on young arms tends be in the 20-25 percent range, the Blue Jays aren’t concerned about Norris since the total spike in innings isn’t an extreme one given the relatively low totals.
Norris, 21, is in the midst of a breakout season and is gaining serious consideration as a September call up for the Blue Jays. He’s 12-1 with a 2.20 ERA over 24 starts with single-A Dunedin, double-A New Hampshire with 157 strikeouts.
In three starts with the Bisons, he’s struck out 32 batters in 16.2 innings, allowing only four walks and two earned runs.
CASTILLO FALLOUT: The Boston Red Sox’s signing of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a $72.5 million, seven-year deal has implications for the Blue Jays as the signing probably raised the price for free agent outfielders Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus.
Castillo, 27, is a talented speedster who may have some pop although talent evaluators are split over whether he’s a starter or a fourth outfielder.
Given the divide and that he’s yet to see a single pitch in the big-leagues, someone like Cabrera, 30, is surely justified in seeking more money than Castillo given his experience and the spectacular season he’s having.
An argument could be made that a deal in line with the $90 million over five Hunter Pence received from the San Francisco Giants last September is reasonable.
Rasmus, 28, is struggling through his walk year, but with five-plus seasons of at least 16 homers and a career OPS of .750, a strong case can be made in paying for a known commodity as opposed to the potential buy that Castillo is.
ON THE MEND: Brandon Morrow was scheduled to throw his first session of live batting practice since tearing a tendon sheath in his index finger on May 2 at Pittsburgh on Saturday in Dunedin.
The outing is an important point of progress toward an anticipated September return to the Blue Jays as a reliever since there won’t be enough time to build him up to start.
Brett Lawrie, meanwhile, continues his rehabilitation at a facility in Arizona. He continues to wait for his oblique to heal so he can resume baseball activities.