Jays tinker with pitching plans

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:32 PM ET

BRADENTON — The Blue Jays have altered their pitching plans for this week both to create a level playing field in the battle for their two remaining rotation spots and to deprive the division rival Tampa Bay Rays of getting too familiar with Brandon Morrow.

After Monday’s off-day, lefty Marc Rzepczynski will slip into Morrow’s scheduled start Tuesday in Port Charlotte against the Rays. The move is done, in part to let both Rzepczynski and Jesse Litsch start games rather than follow each other to the mound in the same game.

“We’ve split them up to give them equal opportunity to follow their pre-game routines. It is a competition, so we want to make sure they have an equal footing,” manager John Farrell said.

Instead of facing the Rays for the second consecutive start, Morrow will pitch Tuesday in a simulated game at the Jays minor-league complex.

“He’s been dealing with a little irritation in his non-throwing shoulder,” Farrell said. “This is a chance to work at a controlled pace but at the same time get him four innings and 65 pitches.”

The other reason is that, if he stayed on the same schedule, Morrow would have faced the Rays, a division rival, three times in a row and Farrell doesn’t want to give them that many looks at him.

“We wanted him to get a different look on that score,” said Farrell.

Rzepczynski, Litsch, Kyle Drabek and Jo-Jo Reyes are in competition for the No. 4 and 5 spots in the rotation.

“The more we can spread these guys out and get an accurate read, that’s what we’re trying to get accomplished,” Farrell said.

If one two or more of those candidates falter, Zach Stewart may still be in consideration for one of those spots as well, especially after pitching two scoreless innings, striking out five Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday.


Videos

Photos