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Reid-Foley gets September second chance

Blue Jays also call up pitchers Guerrieri, Fernandez as rosters expand
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- The day after Toronto dealt veterans Josh Donaldson and Curtis Granderson to contenders, the Blue Jays welcomed some fresh faces Saturday as they focus on the future amid a rebuilding phase.

Among the September callups was right-hander Sean Reid-Foley, who will be put to the test immediately as the starter in Sunday's series finale against the Marlins.

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MIAMI -- The day after Toronto dealt veterans Josh Donaldson and Curtis Granderson to contenders, the Blue Jays welcomed some fresh faces Saturday as they focus on the future amid a rebuilding phase.

Among the September callups was right-hander Sean Reid-Foley, who will be put to the test immediately as the starter in Sunday's series finale against the Marlins.

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Reid-Foley, the Blue Jays' No. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, made his Major League debut last month with two rocky starts. In 9 1/3 innings against the Royals and Yankees, the 23-year-old gave up 11 runs (nine earned) and 13 hits.

"Very rarely does anybody come up and just dominate," manager John Gibbons said Saturday. "You're going to get knocked down. That's going to happen with a lot of our young kids. But that's what's supposed to happen. Now they can see what they need to do to be successful."

Reid-Foley was one of three young pitchers called up with rosters expanding for the final month.

Taylor Guerrieri, another right-hander, received his first call to the Majors from Triple-A Buffalo, where he was 2-2 with a 5.18 ERA in 23 games (seven starts).

Toronto also selected the contract of left-hander Jose Fernandez, who was 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA in 23 appearances for Double-A New Hampshire before moving up to Buffalo, where he was 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 21 games.

In another move, the Blue Jays claimed right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Leiter is the nephew of Al Leiter, who pitched for the Blue Jays from 1989-95, and the son of former Major League pitcher Mark Leiter, who played 11 seasons for eight teams.

The 27-year-old Leiter had a 5.40 ERA in 16 2/3 innings over 12 appearances with the Phillies this season before being designated for assignment last month.

Right-hander Murphy Smith was designated for assignment.

Reid-Foley had an opportunity to regroup and reflect on his first big league experience during a brief demotion to Buffalo.

"Just a big learning experience," he said of his first taste of the Majors. "It kind of hits you after you go down that it's literally the same game up here. They just have a little bit more information on you. They have a camera on every angle of you.

"That's what it comes back down to, it's still the kids' game that you've been playing for however long. Now you just have to have fun on the biggest stage that you've been on."

Reid-Foley was indoctrinated on the biggest stage when he got roughed up in Yankee Stadium for eight runs (six earned) in 4 1/3 innings, allowing home runs to Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar.

Regarding the mistakes in his initial two starts, Reid-Foley said, "Too many to count. I can't really put a finger on any of them. It's kind of, you've just got to go pitch now. Just be competitive in games and give our team a chance to win."

Gibbons said Reid-Foley has a good arm and the ability to be successful at this level.

"I think he just needs to think pitching," Gibbons said. "Be a pitcher. He can't overpower everybody at this level. You've got to hit your spots, you've got to mix your pitches up. He did that in the middle of the game in his second start, he got some decent results with that."

Likewise, Gibbons saw good signs from Guerrieri and is eager to see more from him and other young Blue Jays over the final month.

"We're running some new guys out there right now and we'll continue to do that. Really, it's just to let them get their feet wet, let them compete," Gibbons said. "You still try to win every game, but it's also important to give guys opportunities to succeed and fail in important times."

Stroman may pitch Monday
Right-hander Marcus Stroman, who has been on the 10-day disabled list since a recurrence of a blister on his right middle finger in New York on Aug. 17, threw on the side Saturday without any problem.

Gibbons said Stroman may start Monday against Tampa Bay. He had a 5.57 ERA in four starts in August before the injury.

Sam Gaviglio was originally scheduled for Sunday's start, but is being given extra time after being hit on the biceps during his last outing in Baltimore.

Craig Davis is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Toronto Blue Jays, Taylor Guerrieri, Mark Leiter Jr., Sean Reid-Foley