The pair of fresh arms offers the Blue Jays some length should they need it, particularly from Zeuch, who has been fully stretched out as a starter at the club’s alternate training site in Rochester, N.Y.
Zeuch had entered consideration for the Blue Jays recently amid their need for more bulk innings, but following 20-6 and 13-2 losses that taxed the bullpen, they decided it was time for his 2020 debut. The 2016 first-round Draft pick made five appearances for Toronto last season, including three starts, posting a 4.76 ERA. In a traditional season with Minor League play, Zeuch likely would have been in the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons rotation as a depth option through the summer.
In Font, the Blue Jays bring back a reliever who’s made 17 appearances for them in 2020 but with little to show for it. The 30-year-old owns an 8.78 ERA over 13 1/3 innings and, while he’s capable of pitching multiple innings when needed, the Blue Jays are likely to turn to him only in lower-leverage innings.
The Blue Jays also made one other minor move Thursday, adding outfielder Josh Palacios to the taxi squad. Palacios, who is 25 and reached Double-A last season, does not have a spot on the 40-man roster, but he could be the next outfielder up if the Blue Jays run into injuries.
Shoemaker rounding out rehab
Given the state of the Blue Jays’ rotation, Matt Shoemaker’s return seems more important by the day. After the right-hander threw 45 pitches in a batting practice session on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, manager Charlie Montoyo has a better idea of how far they’ll be able to bring Shoemaker along before activating him.
“It’s going to be tough to stretch him out, for him to come back and throw 80 pitches,” Montoyo said. “So we’ll see. If we can stretch him out to 60 pitches, that would be great.”
Montoyo said he feels comfortable for the postseason with Shoemaker if he can make just one more regular-season appearance, which shouldn’t be difficult. If he can work back up to that 60-pitch level, Shoemaker could open games with three or four innings, or operate out of the bullpen in any variety of roles as the Blue Jays piece their innings together.
• Nate Pearson (right elbow tightness) threw a live BP session in Rochester on Wednesday and came out of it feeling healthy, Montoyo said. He won’t be built all the way back up to a starter’s workload, but the goal is to have him return in a “bulk” role similar to Thomas Hatch or Julian Merryweather.
• Rowdy Tellez (right knee strain) is “walking better” now, Montoyo said, along with riding the bike, but it sounds very unlikely that the slugging first baseman will be able to return this season.