Drabek earns spot in Jays rotation

Toronto Blue Jays' Kyle Drabek delivers to the Pittsburgh Pirates. (REUTERS/Brian Blanco)

Toronto Blue Jays' Kyle Drabek delivers to the Pittsburgh Pirates. (REUTERS/Brian Blanco)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:38 PM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. — The smile on Kyle Drabek’s face said it all.

The goal of the 23-year-old right-hander entering spring training was to earn a spot in the Blue Jays rotation.

On Wednesday, Drabek achieved his goal, albeit that he along with Jo-Jo-Reyes and Jesse Litsch more or less all backed into the rotation by virtue of the elbow inflammation that has knocked Brandon Morrow to the sidelines.

Two of the above three would have earned their way for the final two spots but now all three are as good as gold for the first spin through the rotation.

Drabek, the key acquisition in the trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies two seasons back, came up at the end of last season — ironically enough to take the spot of Morrow who had been shut down for the season to keep his number of innings under 150 (146 2/3).

After going 14-9 with a crisp 2.94 ERA in 27 starts at double-A New Hampshire, Drabek went 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts for the Jays.

“I’ll take it, it’s something that I wanted since the beginning of spring training,” Drabek said of starting the Jays second game of the season, April 2, against the Twins. “Unfortunately we’re losing someone for however long but it does feel amazing.”

As for pitching in the No. 2 slot?

“I didn’t see that coming,” Drabek replied. “I’m very excited and now I don’t have to worry about the decision later on.”

He has no regrets about the way he has pitched this spring and believes he put his best foot forward.

“In my heart I think I did,” he said when asked if he thought he threw well enough to make the team. “I worked hard in the off-season and my arm has felt great all spring training.”

Now he gets the opportunity April 2 to show that he belongs to stay there.


Videos

Photos