Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jays axe Wolfe; call up Hayhurst

The Blue Jays finally put reliever Brian Wolfe out of his misery, sending him down to AAA Las Vegas following a pair of horrific outings. In 7 games, he gave up 13 hits, 7 runs in just 8.1 innings of work, allowing three long balls. The numbers are somewhat skewed the pitiful final two appearances, where he gave up 3 runs in each contest, including a blown save in Baltimore

One man's loss is another man's gain. The Jays have brought 28 year righty Dirk Hayhurst into the fold, presumably for mop up duty and potentially as a long reliever. The Jays claimed Hayhurst off waivers from the Padres in October, and he will attempt to show the clubs brass they didn't make a mistake. His numbers with San Diego in '08 and with AAA Las Vegas this year are not something to write home about. With the Padres, he had a disgusting 9.72 ERA, and in Las Vegas this season his ERA was 5.11.

There could be a glimmer of hope, however. Manager Cito Gaston was extremely impressed with Hayhurst in Spring Training, where he displayed great control. In 8 solid innings, Hayhurst allowed just 1 run, issuing no walks. Gaston wanted to bring him north with the big club, but an issue with his contract prohibited him from making the jump to Toronto until May 15th.

Now that he's here, the question is, will he be another Brian Wolfe? Or the guy he was in spring training? My money is on the former.

Janssen struggles against Halos; will bounce back

Casey Janssen struggled mightily against the Angels Wednesday, getting tagged for 5 runs in just four innings. The development wasn't a complete surprise, because in his two previous starts in Atlanta and against Boston, he laboured also, getting away with potential disaster outings in both starts. In the three starts combined, Janssen has allowed 11 runs, 26 hits in just 17 innings for an ugly 5.82 ERA.

I don't believe Janssen is on a short leash with the team. He will be given every opportunity to work through his early funk, and I finally expect him to do so. Let's put everything in perspective. He missed the entire 2008 campaign with a torn labrum, then had shoulder troubles that caused him to miss the first month and a half of '09. He hasn't started a game since 2006, so there will be a transition for him to adapt to his role.

We know this; Janssen can flat out pitch. In 70 games as the reliever in 2007, the former 4th round pick went 2-3 with an ERA of 2.35 and had 24 holds. And in his first 9 starts as a rookie in 2006, he was extremely effective, notching a 5-3 record with a stout 3.07 ERA.

Bottom line, he's an important pitcher on this staff, and we can expect him to get it straightened out.