Pompey, Kawasaki among Blue Jays' callups
Pitchers Loup, Tepera, Francis also join expanded roster
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays added some depth to their roster for the stretch run by promoting Aaron Loup, Jeff Francis, Ryan Tepera, Dalton Pompey and Munenori Kawasaki from the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.
Major League teams were allowed to expand rosters to 40 players on Sept. 1, and in the coming days, Toronto also is expected to add catcher Josh Thole, right-hander Marcus Stroman and possibly corner infielder Matt Hague.
The additions give the Blue Jays some added protection across the roster. The three pitchers provide additional depth in the bullpen, while Pompey gives Toronto a fifth outfielder and Kawasaki provides a second backup option in the infield.
"Kawasaki gives us an extra infielder, Pompey an extra outfielder and pitching-wise, now we have a long guy, Francis can do that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Tepera is a multiple-inning guy and Loupy, we brought Loupy back, a left-hander. You don't want to overload everything, but those guys fit a role that we can use."
Hague was one notable player who didn't make the cut, but Gibbons hinted that a promotion could happen early next week. Triple-A Buffalo doesn't finish its season until Monday, and Hague has been an integral part of that team this year.
The 30-year-old Hague was named the International League Most Valuable Player on Tuesday after hitting .347 (172-for-495) with 32 doubles, 11 homers, 88 RBIs and a .425 on-base percentage in 129 games. He became the ninth player in Bisons history to earn MVP honors, and Hague also was named an International League postseason All-Star at third base.
Toronto is set on the corners with Josh Donaldson at third and three options at first base: Justin Smoak, Chris Colabello and Edwin Encarnacion. That wouldn't leave much playing time for Hague, but he could be added to the bench as a way to reward his strong season in the Minors.
"There's a good shot that he'll come back, he's earned that," Gibbons said. "He was up here for just a few days, but he has earned that."
Pompey is the biggest name of the five players added to the big league roster. The 22-year-old is ranked as the club's top prospect by MLBPipeline.com and began the year as the starting center fielder in Toronto before eventually losing the job to Kevin Pillar.
The native of Mississauga, Ontario, went through some tough times following that demotion and was sent all the way down to Double-A New Hampshire. He bounced back and finished the Minor League season strong with a .285 average and .372 on-base percentage in 65 games with Buffalo.
Pompey could receive some occasional starts in center field over the final month of the season when Pillar needs a break. Pompey also provides some speed off the bench, which had been one of the minor weaknesses on the roster.
"I think it's a huge difference. I definitely feel more mature," Pompey said. "I know sometimes people always say that, but for me, personally, going down to Triple-A, then to Double-A, back to Triple-A and back to here, it has been a roller coaster but I think I'm better off for it.
"It happens to a lot of guys, maybe not that far down, but at the same time it's something that needed to happen and it changed my career, that's for sure."