Blue Jays claim LHP Mills from Athletics

Left-hander Brad Mills (Kathy Willens/AP).

The Toronto Blue Jays cut ties with one recent draft pick to re-acquire another one Thursday. They claimed left-hander Brad Mills off of waivers from the Oakland Athletics, designating Deck McGuire for assignment four years after selecting him in the first round of the amateur draft.

Mills is headed to Toronto, where he’s expected to be placed on the team’s active roster as a reliever before Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers, industry sources told Sportsnet. The team will make a second move to create active roster space for Mills once he reports.

Mills, who was drafted by Toronto and pitched briefly for the Blue Jays from 2009-11, made three starts for the Athletics this year before Oakland completed a blockbuster deal for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The left-hander posted a 4.41 ERA in 16.1 innings, striking out 14 batters.

Mills began the season with the Milwaukee Brewers’ triple-A team, where he posted a 1.56 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 18 walks in 75 innings. Faced with diminishing pitching depth, the Athletics acquired him from the Brewers for a mere $1 in June. He pitched respectably before losing his roster spot due to Oakland’s blockbuster deal.

Toronto selected McGuire with the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, and while he showed promise early in his professional career, he has faltered of late. In 10 starts for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons this year, he has a 5.56 ERA in 55 innings. That’s nearly a run higher than his career ERA of 4.57 but was enough to cost him his roster spot before reaching the big leagues.

The Blue Jays originally selected Mills in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, and he debuted with Toronto in 2009, making two starts. He would re-surface in Toronto in 2010 and 2011 before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels for catcher Jeff Mathis in 2011.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the claim.

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