Blue Jays expected to promote right-handed reliever Chris Smith

Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker (left) and John Gibbons (right). (Nathan Denette/CP)

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are expected to promote right-handed reliever Chris Smith to the big leagues, industry sources told Sportsnet. The Blue Jays would have to create space on their currently full 40-man roster before making anything official, but they flew Smith to Toronto Tuesday in anticipation of a move.

Smith spent most of the 2016 season at double-A before earning a promotion to triple-A in late August. In 47 total relief appearances, the 28-year-old posted a 1.93 ERA with 81 strikeouts against 22 walks in 60.2 innings this year. He has yet to appear at the MLB level.

After going undrafted Smith began his professional career in the independent Frontier League. He eventually signed with the Yankees and pitched in their system for parts of two seasons before being released. The Blue Jays then signed him to a minor league deal midway through the 2015 season.

The Blue Jays’ bullpen could use additional depth with six games remaining in the regular season and no days off. Reliever Joaquin Benoit was spotted leaving Rogers Centre on crutches Monday after apparently injuring himself during a bench-clearing incident in the Blue Jays’ game against the New York Yankees.

The addition of Smith would provide manager John Gibbons with a fresh relief arm leading up to Toronto’s series against the Baltimore Orioles. Smith last pitched in a game on Sept. 5.

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