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Koehler to debut; Happ given extra day of rest

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays will insert newly acquired pitcher Tom Koehler into the starting rotation Thursday and push J.A. Happ's start back to Friday.

Manager John Gibbons said he wanted to provide Happ with one more day of rest. Happ and Marcus Stroman, Wednesday's starter, will have six days in between recent starts.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays will insert newly acquired pitcher Tom Koehler into the starting rotation Thursday and push J.A. Happ's start back to Friday.

Manager John Gibbons said he wanted to provide Happ with one more day of rest. Happ and Marcus Stroman, Wednesday's starter, will have six days in between recent starts.

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"Very good time of year to do that," Gibbons said. "They could both use it."

That will allow Koehler to make his Toronto debut on Thursday vs. the Rays and show his new teammates what he's capable of. Koehler tossed at least 176 innings in the last three seasons for the Marlins. He made 12 starts this season, but went 1-5 with a 7.92 ERA after allowing 2.4 homers per nine innings compared to a 1.1 mark the year before.

The former Marlins pitcher has not been teammates with anyone on the Blue Jays before and has rarely shared a field with them, either.

"We've only had one series against Toronto in the last five years, and that was back in 2015, when I got to pitch in Toronto," Koehler said. "I'm excited to have all those fans on my side now, because the place was rocking pretty good."

Koehler, acquired Saturday for Minor League right-hander Osman Gutierrez, does recognize one face: First-base coach Tim Leiper, who managed Koehler's teams at the Class A Advanced and Double-A levels. Leiper changed his number to give Koehler his prefered No. 34.

That gesture might have come with a catch, though.

"He sent me a couple of bass boats and things he wanted in return," Koehler said with a chuckle. "I don't think it was just out of the kindness of his heart."

Notes

Making his fourth start with Triple-A Buffalo, Joe Biagini threw seven innings of two-run ball Tuesday night, using 86 pitches. Gibbons didn't give an exact date of Biagini's return to the Blue Jays, but when asked if his next start would be in the Majors, Gibbons replied, "I would hope so."

Biagini has started 11 games for Toronto, the last of which came July 2 before he was moved to the bullpen. But he's worked back to starting with Buffalo and Toronto wants to take a look at him in the rotation before year's end.

"View toward next year, see if he can do it," Gibbons said. "He had some good [starts] the first go-round, and he had some tough ones. … Now, he's ready to go."

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

Toronto Blue Jays, J.A. Happ, Tom Koehler