TORONTO — A taxing series against the Boston Red Sox led to another bullpen adjustment for the Toronto Blue Jays, and the casualty this time was a position player rather than another reliever.
The Blue Jays recalled Ryan Tepera Monday to provide manager John Gibbons with a fresh reliever for Toronto’s upcoming series against the New York Yankees. To create space on the active roster, the Blue Jays designated utility player Jimmy Paredes for assignment.
While Tepera has struggled in limited action with the Blue Jays this year, Gibbons says the three earned runs allowed in 2.1 innings misrepresent his true ability.
“He’s got a better arm than most guys you’re going to see in the league,” Gibbons said. “I think right now it’s a confidence thing. A little success will do wonders for him.”
Tepera experienced that success in his most recent stint with the Buffalo Bisons, when he had five consecutive scoreless appearances with 10 strikeouts and just four hits in nine innings. The 28-year-old righty, who’s joining the Blue Jays for the third time this year, has five saves and a 3.57 ERA in 13 total games with the Bisons.
The move leaves Toronto with a three-man bench consisting of Ryan Goins, Ezequiel Carrera and Josh Thole. Meanwhile the Blue Jays’ bullpen expands to eight with the addition of Tepera, a right-hander whose work against opposite-handed hitters has impressed team decision makers in the past.
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Blue Jays call on Tepera and Chad Girodo Monday, especially if starter Marco Estrada makes an early exit. The Blue Jays would like to avoid using Gavin Floyd, Roberto Osuna, Jesse Chavez and Joe Biagini after an extra-innings loss Sunday.
“If something happens to Estrada, they need to throw some innings,” Gibbons said. “Because we’re really strapped. Really strapped.”
By designating Paredes for assignment, the Blue Jays expose the switch-hitter to rival teams. Toronto obtained him on a waiver claim from the Baltimore Orioles earlier this month and he rewarded the team with four hits, including a home run, in 15 at bats.
Gibbons was impressed by Paredes’ hitting, but he didn’t want a bench without any players capable of handling shortstop. “He wasn’t playing a lot,” Gibbons noted. “Maybe he gets through (waivers), maybe he doesn’t.”