TORONTO — Tim Mayza stepped into a clubhouse he’d never been in when he arrived in Toronto on Monday afternoon. But for the left-handed relief pitcher, it felt very familiar.
With starting catcher Russell Martin and backups Luke Maile and Miguel Montero all on the disabled list, Mayza was greeted by Mike Ohlman and Raffy Lopez instead — two catchers he’d already played with this season in Buffalo — after being called up from triple-A earlier in the day.
"I think it’s always nice to have familiar faces when you walk into a new clubhouse," Mayza said. "Having Mike Ohlman and Raffy Lopez here is definitely an advantage. They know what I like to do.
"They know what kind of game I throw when I’m out on the mound."
The Blue Jays selected Mayza in the 12th round of the 2013 draft.
The 25-year-old began the 2017 season at double-A New Hampshire, posting a 4.59 earned-run average over 33 1/3 innings before being promoted in July to triple-A, where he pitched to an 0.93 ERA and struck out 16 batters over 19 1/3 innings.
"I think I was just able to move the ball both sides of the plate with some tilt, get some angle and kind of work towards my strengths," Mayza said of the shift in his stats. "Pitch to contact and fill up the zone."
Mayza, who found out he’d be making his first trip to the big leagues on Monday morning, called the experience so far "kind of surreal."
Bisons coach Bob Stanley delivered the news while the triple-A team was on a bus trip back to Buffalo from Toledo. A car service was waiting for him in Buffalo to take him to Toronto.
"When you hear that news you’re almost taken aback like ‘wow, this is really happening."’ Mayza said. "And then on the car ride here in the afternoon I had a chance to collect my thoughts and really take it in."
The addition of Mayza gives Toronto four left-handers in the bullpen.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he would use Mayza against both right-handed and left-handed hitters and he could go multiple innings if needed.
"He’s got a great arm, left-handed, saw some good things in spring training and he’s been pitching well lately," Gibbons said.
In corresponding roster moves, Toronto optioned reliever Leonel Campos to Buffalo and offered right-hander Taylor Cole his unconditional release.