Blue Jays start Kay in opener vs. Royals; Romano, Stripling to IL

Toronto Blue Jays' Anthony Kay delivers a pitch. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Toronto Blue Jays will start left-hander Anthony Kay in Thursday's series opener against the Kansas City Royals.

Kay, 26, is making his season debut and draws his first start for the club since 2019. He appeared in 13 games out of the bullpen in 2020, logging a 5.14 ERA.

Toronto had a hole to fill in its starting rotation after Ross Stripling was forced onto the injured list with a flexor strain. Stripling's injury is the latest in a long line of early-season ailments for the Blue Jays.

Manager Charlie Montoyo said veterans Tanner Roark and Tommy Milone were also in consideration for the start and hinted Roark could be deployed in a relief role in the series opener.

Reliever Jordan Romano also landed on the injured list with right ulnar neuritis, with the move retroactive to April 14. The hard-throwing right-hander joins fellow high-leverage pieces Kirby Yates, Tyler Chatwood and Julian Merryweather on the shelf.

Joel Payamps was recalled from the club's alternate training site to fill Romano's spot on the roster.

First pitch between the Blue Jays and Royals is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET/5:10 p.m. PT on Sportsnet.

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