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Prospect Pannone looking to add to repertoire

Left-hander working on cutter to aid attack against righty hitters
MLB.com @gregorMLB

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Blue Jays left-hander Thomas Pannone is hoping to add another pitch to his repertoire before the end of spring.

Toronto's No. 26 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline has been working hard trying to perfect a cutter. It's not ready for games, but that will hopefully change by the end of camp, with the goal of making it a reliable pitch to complement his fastball, curveball and changeup.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Blue Jays left-hander Thomas Pannone is hoping to add another pitch to his repertoire before the end of spring.

Toronto's No. 26 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline has been working hard trying to perfect a cutter. It's not ready for games, but that will hopefully change by the end of camp, with the goal of making it a reliable pitch to complement his fastball, curveball and changeup.

Pannone won't commit to a firm timeline on when the pitch will be unveiled because it comes down to feel. The 23-year-old has been getting more comfortable with the cutter in bullpen sessions, but until his confidence in the pitch grows a little bit more he won't try it against an opposing hitter.

"I think it would open up the outside part of the plate for me," Pannone said, of adding the cutter. "Say, on a day when I wasn't getting my fastball in on a righty that well. Now a righty is eliminating the inner part of the plate. Brush him back with the cutter in, they wouldn't expect that to come in there. I just think it would be a way to open up the plate and a way to attack hitters a bit differently."

Pannone is a converted outfielder who has only been pitching full-time for the past five years. A brief experiment as a pitcher in college showed enough velocity and command to pique the interest of scouts. He has used his time since then to develop an above-average curveball and a changeup.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The New York native was acquired last July as part of the deal with Cleveland for Joe Smith. Pannone is not competing for a spot on the roster, but a strong start to the year would put him next in line when a member of the big league staff goes down.

"I definitely try to not focus on that so much," said Pannone, who allowed one run on two hits over two innings in his first spring start during the Blue Jays' eventual 2-1 loss to the Twins on Friday. "I have to get better every single day. I have to stay focused on what I'm doing. Whatever I read, it's not going to get me to the big leagues. The only thing that will get me to the big leagues is me performing, pitching well and being a good teammate."

Injury updates
Pitching coach Pete Walker told reporters in Dunedin that Marcus Stroman won't pitch for at least a couple of more days. Stroman has been shut down for almost a week because of inflammation in his right shoulder. Once Stroman is cleared to return, he will have to be gradually built up for the start of the season. He remains questionable for Opening Day, and if a DL stint is required, Joe Biagini will likely open the season as a starter.

Video: Gibbons, Atkins talk Stroman's shoulder inflammation

Seung Hwan Oh threw live batting practice at Dunedin Stadium on Friday morning. It was Oh's first appearance on the mound for Toronto since he signed a one-year deal earlier this week. Oh previously reached a verbal agreement with the Rangers, but the contract never became official and negotiations eventually ended. There were reports at the time that Oh failed his physical because of a right elbow issue but he has been a full participant in Toronto's Spring Training and should make his debut next week.

Camp battles
Toronto's traveling roster to Fort Myers for Friday afternoon's game against the Twins closely resembled the one Triple-A Buffalo is expected to use at the start of the year. The Blue Jays went with a starting outfield of Dalton Pompey, Anthony Alford and Teoscar Hernandez, while other Buffalo prospects such as catcher Danny Jansen and infielder Lourdes Gurriel were also in the lineup.

The lack of Major Leaguers meant there was not much in the way of camp battles to monitor. The lone exception came in the bullpen, where rookies Matt Dermody and Tim Mayza made appearances. Both relievers are competing to be named Toronto's second lefty out of the bullpen, but veteran Craig Breslow does appear to be an early favorite.

Mayza worked around a leadoff single to toss a scoreless fifth inning. Dermody allowed one hit and picked up a strikeout over 1 1/3 innings.

Up next
Aaron Sanchez will make his second appearance of the spring when the Blue Jays host the Twins on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. ET and Sanchez is expected to throw two or three innings. Marco Estrada will start Sunday against the Phillies, and that's also when Jaime Garcia will make his Blue Jays debut, with one inning out of the bullpen.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Thomas Pannone