Blue Jays set roster, add 2nd lefty reliever
Loup joins Cecil in bullpen; Pompey, Carrera also included
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have settled on the 25-man roster for their American League Division Series, and the notable additions were left-hander Aaron Loup and outfielders Dalton Pompey and Ezequiel Carrera.
The roster for the ALDS vs. Texas won't be made official until Thursday, but manager John Gibbons announced his intentions Tuesday evening during a scrum with reporters. Game 1 is scheduled for Thursday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, Sportsnet) at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays decided on Loup at least partially because the Rangers have a starting lineup that can feature up to five left-handed bats. Loup provides a second lefty in the bullpen to complement primary setup man Brett Cecil.
"If you had to guess right now, Cecil could be the most worked and overworked guy in the postseason if things go our way," Gibbons said of his team's roster, which will feature 11 pitchers and 14 position players. "Especially against this team, Texas, they're left-handed dominant ... if you have to rely on one lefty, that would be tough."
Loup is coming off a rather disappointing regular season that saw him go 2-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 42 1/3 innings. His numbers against lefties were slightly better, with a .704 OPS compared to an .825 OPS vs. righties. One concern is that he hit six left-handed batters, but all of the six home runs he surrendered this year were by righties.
The 27-year-old has experience against all five lefties that are featured in the Rangers lineup. Shin-Soo Choo (1-for-4, two K's), Prince Fielder (2-for-5, K), Mitch Moreland (1-for-1), Josh Hamilton (0-for-5, two K's) and Rougned Odor (1- for-2). That group has combined to hit 5-for-17 (.294) with five strikeouts.
"It's awesome," an upbeat Loup said Tuesday. "I kind of had a tough season, struggled a little bit for a while, got sent down, got my stuff back together and finished strong the last month. It got me a spot on the postseason roster and a chance to do some good things."
Toronto's bench will include backup catcher Dioner Navarro, middle infielder Cliff Pennington, first basemen Chris Colabello or Justin Smoak (depending on who starts on a particular day), Pompey and Carrera. Pompey is expected to be used exclusively as a pinch-runner while Carrera would serve as the fourth outfielder and additional speed off the bench.
"We need him. Everybody saw what he could do on the bases," Gibbons said of Pompey, who stole five bases in six attempts. "Late in the year he was a difference-maker for us. Stole some key bags, scored from first to home with anybody. You never know, too, in a different role he might be forced in or you could use him in a different role too if you needed him."