TORONTO - For six innings on Tuesday night, Esmil Rogers confused the Colorado Rockies, holding them to one hit.
When his night was over, two outs later in the seventh, Rogers left to a standing ovation, a grin on his face.
The reliever-turned-starter has in himself the most important tool for any professional athlete.
“I'm confident,” said Rogers. “I think that that's the key. The confidence that Gibby and Pete give to me right now is unbelievable. They told me right away, be confident on the mound. I didn't have it in Colorado, I'm not going to lie to you, and I've got a real, unbelievable confidence right now that I can throw any pitch in any count that I want.”
Rogers followed up his seven-inning, 93-pitch performance in Thursday's 6-1 win over Texas with 6 2/3 innings of two earned run baseball. He worked ahead and relied on his recently developed two-seam sinking fastball. Of Rogers' 20 recorded outs, 14 were either strikeouts or groundouts.
“He's a four-pitch guy now,” said manager John Gibbons. “Coming out of the bullpen he's basically a two-pitch guy but he's added that two-seam fastball, he throws a little curveball now and then to go along with his slider and he actually throws some changeups.
“I see much better command than coming out of the bullpen,” Gibbons continued. “The mentality sometimes there is you go in one or two innings and air it out, let it fly. Now he's pitching more. I tell you what: he's got a dynamite arm.”
Rogers has a 1.71 ERA over four starts (four earned runs in 21 innings). Understandably, there is a question about whether Rogers' arm will hold up given his off-season training program was geared toward middle to late relief.
The answer won't be known until later in the season. In the meantime, Rogers will enjoy the ride. He won't stress.
“I'm not that kind of pitcher, like I come into the stadium the day before I pitch and try to look for the scouting report,” said Rogers. “I know I've got ability and I know if they're going to hit, they're going to hit my pitches.
Jose Reyes Update
Jose Reyes started and played nine innings at designated hitter for class-A Dunedin, his second rehab outing.
Reyes went 1-5 with a single in Dunedin's 9-4, 11-inning win over the Yankees' affiliate in Tampa.
The win clinched the first half division crown for the Blue Jays, assuring the club playoff games when the regular season concludes.
Dunedin plays on Wednesday morning at 11:00. Reyes was scheduled to be back at shortstop.
Morrow Suffers Setback
As Reyes continues to make progress toward an impending return to the Blue Jays, the club got bad news on starter Brandon Morrow.
“The forearm's still bothering him,” said Gibbons. “They're backing him off that rehab, get him re-examined and see where he's at. Same spot, forearm, tenderness.”
Morrow started Monday night's game for Single-A Dunedin. He allowed three runs on five hits, including a home run, in two innings.
After the game he reported a recurrence of pain in his forearm. In the meantime, he'll be shut down from all throwing.
Luis Perez Suffers Setback
Left-handed reliever Luis Perez, who had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery last July 17, has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation.
Perez, 28, had progressed to Single-A action. He appeared in one game for Dunedin on June 10, pitching two scoreless innings.
Perez had a 3.43 ERA in 42 innings, 35 relief appearances, for the Blue Jays in the first half of the 2012 season.
The Blue Jays don't believe the setback is serious.