Joe Biagini back in Toronto, scheduled to start Sunday vs. Twins

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Joe Biagini works against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning on Tuesday. (Mark Blinch/CP)

TORONTO — Joe Biagini will return to the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday, starting his club’s series finale versus the Minnesota Twins. Biagini has been pitching for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons since early this month after the Blue Jays decided to stretch him back out as a starter.

Biagini began the season in Toronto’s bullpen before transitioning to the rotation in May and making 11 starts. Biagini pitched to a 5.60 ERA across that stretch and was moved back to the bullpen after giving up 10 hits and seven earned runs against the Boston Red Sox on July 2.

Biagini has enjoyed more success as a reliever this season, pitching to a 4.26 ERA over 31.2 innings. As a reliever, Biagini held opposition batters to a .223/.310/.339 line. As a starter, those numbers inflate to .268/.318/.424.

Regardless, Biagini is seen as a rotation candidate for the club in 2018, which is why the Blue Jays chose to get a second look at him as a starter this season. In his four starts with Buffalo, Biagini posted a 3.12 ERA over 17.1 innings, holding his opposition to a .210/.279/.323 line.

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His most recent outing was especially encouraging as Biagini threw seven innings of two-run ball against the Pawtucket Red Sox, striking out five and walking none in the process. Biagini threw 86 pitches in that outing, and should be able to cross the 100-pitch threshold in his return to the Blue Jays Sunday.

Left-hander Brett Anderson has also been pitching well for the Bisons since signing a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays earlier this month.

A veteran of 121 major-league starts, Anderson has pitched twice for Buffalo and allowed only four hits and a run across 9.2 innings. He’s struck out only three batters, but the Blue Jays have been especially pleased with his groundball rate, which stands at 53.3 per cent over the two starts.

Anderson’s next start day lines up for Tuesday when the Bisons are at home against Pawtucket and the Blue Jays play the Red Sox at Rogers Centre.

That day would be Tom Koehler’s turn in Toronto’s current rotation. Koehler — who was acquired from the Miami Marlins last week — allowed a run on four hits and a walk over five innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, his Blue Jays debut.

While he’s primarily been a starter over his major-league career, Koehler has experience working out of the bullpen as a long man, and has said he’s open to any role his new team has for him.


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