Blue Jays call up Doubront, Tepera
Lefty expected to eventually join rotation; righty begins second stint with Toronto
DETROIT -- Left-hander Felix Doubront was added to the Blue Jays' bullpen before Friday's 8-6 loss to the Tigers, but it might not be very long before he joins the starting rotation.
It didn't take long for Doubront to make his Blue Jays debut as he entered in relief for Drew Hutchison and allowed one run over 2 1/3 innings. He threw 33 pitches and should easily to be able to make a start on Tuesday against the White Sox if he's not needed again out of the bullpen before that.
Toronto selected Doubront's contract from Triple-A Buffalo and recalled right-hander Ryan Tepera prior to the series opener in Detroit. Both pitchers received promotions to help an overworked bullpen, but there likely is a bigger plan in the works for Doubront.
The Blue Jays optioned left-hander Matt Boyd to the Minor Leagues after he allowed seven runs and didn't record an out in a 12-6 loss to the Red Sox on Thursday. That created a vacancy in the rotation, and when Boyd's former spot comes around again it likely will go to Doubront, unless he needs to throw too many innings before then.
"Yeah, I would say at this moment probably," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said when asked if Doubront was the prime candidate for the starting job. "Depends on what happens in the bullpen ... If we don't have to use him a lot, he would probably be the guy."
Doubront joined the Blue Jays on a Minor League deal at the end of March and spent the first month of the season on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury. The issue dates back to May 2014, when he was still pitching for the Red Sox. While the ailment wasn't considered serious, Doubront was lacking his typical strength.
The 27-year-old spent some time at extended Spring Training this year and took a gradual approach to building up his endurance. He was put on Toronto's weighted ball program that is specifically designed to increase strength and durability in the shoulder, and the ensuing results in Buffalo were quite positive.
Doubront made nine appearances for the Bisons and posted a 2.44 ERA over 48 innings. He was scheduled to start for Buffalo again Friday night but instead got word that a promotion was on the way. In the past, Doubront has openly spoken about a strong desire to be in the rotation and not the bullpen, but upon his arrival in Toronto he was saying all the right things about being willing to accept whatever role he ends up in.
"I'm going to be whatever they want me to be," Doubront said. "For right now, I'm in the bullpen and hopefully [I start] but that's their decision."
Doubront also has some experience under his belt, which is something that couldn't be said for other spot starters Toronto has tried to use this year. Scott Copeland and Boyd arrived without a track record at the Major League level, but Doubront spent parts of five years in the American League East with Boston and has a 4.78 ERA in 438 1/3 innings.
There had been some speculation earlier in the year that Doubront would have joined the rotation, but until Friday he hadn't received a promotion. That's something Doubront claimed he wasn't surprised about, though, and said it was all part of the long-term plan.
"I know that I had to work on my shoulder, my pitches, everything, as a starter," Doubront said. "I was thinking just work hard down there and try to get my strength and my shoulder and get my pitches back. Be there as a starter."
As for his next outing being a potential start? Gibbons remained non-committal after the loss to Detroit.
"We don't know what we're going to do yet," Gibbons said. "We'll determine all of that. He should be able to throw again Sunday [out of the bullpen] I would think."