Jays need some lefties — who will they be?

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:47 PM ET

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — While Brett Cecil looked to be in mid-season form against the Rays A list on Wednesday — Johnny Damon, Evan Longoria, Manny Ramirez, etc. — it was the fate of a couple of left-handers not in attendance that garnered a lot of pre-game interest.

Specifically, what was going on in their search for a lefty or two in the bullpen, guys who could be counted on to get the opposing game breakers who hit from the left side out at crunch time late in the game.

Last year that assignment chiefly fell to Scott Downs, now gone and a member of the Los Angeles Angels.

David Purcey, who is out of options, is one of the leading candidates, of course, and perhaps, too, is starter Marc Rzepczynski, who possesses a terrific curveball. Former manager Cito Gaston always figured that Zep would be great as a one batter or one-inning matchup specialist against left-handed hitters.

Last season Purcey had his ups and downs but overall finished 1-1 with a 3.71. He allowed 26 hits in 34 innings pitched but also walked 15.

Purcey would seem to be a lock for one of the two open spots but manager John Ferrell wouldn’t go that far.

“The one thing you look at is he has such swing and miss ability with his fastball and that is his calling card,” Farrell said. “Command, yes that has been a little fleeting at times for him as is the consistency of his secondary pitch or consistent breaking ball, two areas we continue to stress with him and work at.

“However, with that inconsistency comes the uncertainty of a role. He’s a guy that we love the talent, we love his durability, and yet you try to mix and match and put guys in positions for success and that’s where we’ve got to get a little bit more of a known commodity.”

Purcey certainly didn’t impress the other day against the Rays when he issued three walks.

“We’re not near the spot where we’re going to turn the page and give up on him that’s for sure,” Farrell said. “We just have to get him into a position to deliver consistent strikes.”

What of Zep?

“That’s been part of our internal discussions,” Farrell said. “We’re not ready to say this or that but it has been discussed.”


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