Loup rejoins Blue Jays, available in Game 6
KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Aaron Loup rejoined the Blue Jays on Friday morning and is available to pitch out of the bullpen for Game 6 (7 p.m. ET air time on FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet, game time 8 p.m.) of the American League Championship Series, with Toronto trailing the Royals in the best-of-seven series, 3-2.
Loup returned following a two-game absence for what previously had been described as a personal family issue.
The issue was publicly revealed Friday afternoon, and it was because his wife gave birth prematurely at 26 weeks. The baby boy is still in a Dallas-area hospital, where he was born during the AL Division Series, but is now stable after days of uncertainty.
Even though Loup returned under very positive circumstances, the fact that he hasn't pitched since last Saturday and his lack of a regular routine over the past week means manager John Gibbons will have to think twice about when to use him.
"I don't think you're going to see him with the game on the line," Gibbons admitted Friday afternoon. "I wouldn't expect that, but you don't know how the game is going to play out either. We had that 14-inning game you know."
Right-hander Marcus Stroman technically is available out of the bullpen as well, but only in emergency-type situations. Stroman is scheduled to start Game 7 if the Blue Jays win Friday night's game against Kansas City, so it would take a lot for Toronto to use him one day early.
"Possibly, if it was real late, we burned through some stuff and it was extra innings or something," Gibbons said of Stroman. "Ideally not, but could be."
The Blue Jays' bullpen is in relatively good shape after the club enjoyed an off-day between Games 5 and 6. Right-hander Mark Lowe is available after pitching in Games 3 and 4, while the combo of Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna also will be good to go.