BALTIMORE -- The first wave of September callups for the Blue Jays will arrive on Friday afternoon when OF Teoscar Hernandez, SS Richard Urena, C Luke Maile, OF Michael Saunders and RHP Carlos Ramirez join the ballclub.
Toronto manager John Gibbons announced the moves following Thursday night's 11-8 victory over the Orioles. Additional moves are expected to be made later in the week when Triple-A Buffalo's season officially comes to an end on Sunday afternoon.
Major League rosters can be expanded to 40 players starting on Sept. 1. Toronto is not expected to reach the maximum number, but at least a few more arms will be added before the club opens a three-game series in Boston on Monday night.
"I think that does wonders for them," Gibbons said of the younger players getting more experience at the big league level. "Teoscar, he has some time in. Really, most of them are trying to make it so they're looking for every opportunity.
"If it's their first go-round, they're really excited, here's my chance. It's not going to make or break any of them usually ... but it's a great experience, and they can go into the offseason saying, 'Hey, I got there.' Especially the younger guys, to see what it's really all about, and they can gauge it a little bit from where they came from."
Hernandez, the club's No. 5 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, joined the Blue Jays prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline from the Astros as part of the deal for lefty Francisco Liriano. It's not immediately clear how much playing time he will receive but the 24-year-old should occasionally spell Jose Bautista in right field and might even see some action in center when Kevin Pillar needs a day off. Hernandez hit .222/.294/.505 in 26 games for Triple-A Buffalo.
Urena, the club's No. 11 prospect, will eventually make his Major League debut and with Troy Tulowitzki out for the season, there is an opportunity for playing time. Toronto has been using Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney at shortstop, but Urena will now enter that mix as well following a season in which he hit .247/.286/.359 for Double-A New Hampshire.
Maile will see some time behind the plate and should help solve some of the defensive issues Toronto has been experiencing at catcher during Russell Martin's absence. The Blue Jays have allowed 12 stolen bases in 12 opportunities over the last four games. Saunders likely won't see much playing time, but he does provide Gibbons with another pinch-hitting option off the bench.
The other interesting player in all of this is Ramirez, who did not allow a run over 14 innings for the Bisons and allowed just two runs over 23 2/3 innings for New Hampshire. In 37 2/3 combined innings this season, Ramirez struck out 45 and walked 10. His presence should help, and the additions coming later this week should help ease the workloads of top setup men Danny Barnes and Dennis Tepera.
"Those guys are barking pretty hard," Gibbons said. "I'm not saying they're done and they'll be ineffective but I think it's important when we're trailing ... we don't have to use certain guys to finish a game if a starter doesn't go well. That's the primary thing. They can be rested, you got a lead or a close game, they're that much better off."