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MacArthur: Bizarre roster move kicks off Jays' second half

Scott MacArthur
7/18/2014 10:28:15 PM
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TORONTO – Unless the Blue Jays are laying the groundwork to promote top pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez from Triple-A, Friday's roster move is at best pointless and at worst, a hindrance.

On its own, it's hard to see how the acquisition of left-hander Brad Mills off waivers from Oakland on Thursday, followed by the optioning to Buffalo of right-hander Chad Jenkins on Friday, makes the Blue Jays a better baseball team.

Sitting four games out of first place in the American League East entering post-All-Star Break play, the priority must be to improve the ballclub with each transaction.

This results in the shuffling of back-to-back first-round picks. Jenkins (20th overall in 2009) gets shuffled out. Right-handed pitcher Deck McGuire (11th overall in 2010) was designated for assignment to create space on the 40-man roster for Mills.

Manager John Gibbons, left to answer for a move he likely had no say in, offered this on Mills:

"He'll be our long guy," said Gibbons.

This, according to Gibbons, is to facilitate a larger role for Todd Redmond.

"You'll probably see him in the middle of the game, later in the game," said Gibbons.

Jenkins, who was gone before media had a chance to speak to him, could be forgiven if he was scratching his head all the way to Pawtucket, where he'll join his Bisons teammates and begin his fourth stint with Buffalo this season.

The 26-year-old has a 3.72 ERA in 15 appearances, 19 1/3 innings, for the Blue Jays this season. Clearly, he'd developed a degree of Gibbons' trust, seeing use in high leverage situations late in close ballgames.

Mills, 29, is a journeyman. A fourth-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2007, he posted an 8.57 ERA in 14 appearances, nine starts, with Toronto spread over three seasons starting in 2009.

After a stop in Anaheim (sent west by the Blue Jays in the December, 2011 deal for catcher Jeff Mathis), Mills has spent time in the Rangers', Brewers' and Athletics' organizations.

He made three starts for the A's this season after Oakland acquired him for one dollar from Milwaukee, winning once before becoming expendable after the blockbuster trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

Redmond has had a solid year for the Blue Jays, posting a 2.57 ERA in 25 appearances but pitching mostly in low leverage situations. There have been 14 occasions when Redmond has entered the game with Toronto either leading or trailing by at least three runs.

"Basically Red was pitching in blowout-type games so he wasn't getting a lot of work and he's pitched very good," said Gibbons. "We're going to give him a shot in a little bit tougher roles and see what he can do with them; pitch him more often."

Redmond had been the long man with Jenkins serving a hybrid long man/high leverage role.

Now, it's Mills as the long man with Redmond serving a hybrid long man/high leverage role.

The only thing the club has accomplished is the addition of a depth pitcher. Maybe Jenkins helps to fortify a pitching staff in Buffalo that's soon to lose Sanchez.

It could be similar to the recent acquisition of Brett Wallace, meant to cover Buffalo's loss of Dan Johnson, who joined the Blue Jays when Adam Lind went on the disabled list.

Then again, maybe it isn't and this is just another move in the seemingly constant waiver wire scavenger hunt that leaves Jenkins the odd man out.


REYES GETS CORTISONE SHOT

Jose Reyes used the four-day All-Star Break to spend time with his family at their Long Island, New York home.

He didn't exercise and he didn't participate in any baseball-related activities.

Reyes had good reason for it.

"I didn't do anything because I had a cortisone shot in my shoulder," said Reyes. "I had to sit for a couple of days at home and rest and go from there. Today, I feel good. It's all about baseball now, you know, second half. We're still in the mix to continue competing."

Reyes played in Sunday's game against the Rays and received the shot afterward. He's been dealing with soreness in his rotator cuff, soreness that comes and goes, for most of the season.

Entering Friday's play, Reyes had appeared in 79 of Toronto's 96 games, the majority of which have been played on the fake surface at Rogers Centre.

His body needed the break.

"People know on the field that we play here, on the turf, it's going to hurt your body a little bit," said Reyes. "When you have the opportunity to take a day off you have to take it and enjoy it."


ARENCIBIA RETURNS TO TORONTO

After a two month stint with Texas' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock, J.P. Arencibia was back in the big leagues in time to begin the second half of the season in, of all places, Toronto.

The irony wasn't lost on the former franchise catcher.

"It's crazy the way life works. I think things happen for a reason," said Arencibia. "Obviously (it's) where my whole career started; where I grew up. I mean, walking around is a little different for me but, obviously, I'm here to do a job and I'm excited to be back."

Arencibia had a big effect on the outcome of Friday night's game. His three-run home run in the seventh inning increased the Rangers' lead to 5-0. Texas won 5-1.

The Rangers have a plethora of catchers now that Geovany Soto, the incumbent, has returned from a knee injury. The Rangers used a combination of Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez after Arencibia was outrighted to the minor leagues in mid-May.

Thanks to left ankle surgery which will keep first baseman Mitch Moreland out of action until September, possibly the rest of the season, the Rangers have a hole at first base.

Carlos Pena was designated for assignment. Arencibia gets a chance to fill the void.

His two months in the minor leagues were helpful.

"I 100-percent needed it," said Arencibia. "I think that it was something that necessary and I went back and had to iron some things out and be who I can be. That was really the main thing, changing my mentality and really understanding myself."

Arencibia hit .279/.320/.542 with 14 home runs in 48 games with Round Rock. In his first stint with the Rangers, he hit .133/.182/.233 with one home run in 20 games.

The former Blue Jay was non-tendered last offseason after hitting .194/.227/.365 despite 21 home runs.

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