By Mike Rutsey, Toronto Sun
|Michael Bourne of the Houston Astros steals third base Sunday as Jayson Nix of the Blue Jays jumps out of the way. (MARK O’NEILL/Toronto Sun)
Carlos Villanueva moves from the bullpen to the starting rotation on Monday as a replacement for Jesse Litsch, who was placed on the disabled list Friday with a right shoulder impingement.
Villanueva’s first start will be at Yankee Stadium against the home-run-happy Bronx Bombers. That’s not exactly drawing to an inside straight.
In 13 relief appearances this season, Villanueva has been aces. He has allowed just 10 hits in 24 1/3 innings and held the opposition to a .132 average. He also has walked 10 while striking out 21.
A right-hander, Villanueva last started for the Milwaukee Brewers against the St. Louis Cardinals on the final day of the 2009 regular season.
The Blue Jays played Sunday with just 24 players. Backup infielder John McDonald was given the day off to attend to personal business. McDonald will rejoin the team in New York on Monday when they open a three-game series against the Yankees.
Following the game, the Jays sent utility infielder Mike McCoy back to triple-A Las Vegas and called up LHP Luis Perez. In six starts at Vegas, Perez has gone 2-1 with a 4.54 ERA. Perez has allowed 32 hits, walked 18 and struck out 31 in 37 2/3 innings. Perez was with the Jays earlier this season. He appeared in three games and allowed four hits and three runs over three innings. Perez likely will take over the long relief roll that has been vacated by Villanueva moving into the rotation.
NIX NOT IN MIX
It was another rough day at the plate for third baseman Jayson Nix, who went 0-for-3 including one strikeout. Since coming off the disabled list May 16 from a shin contusion, Nix has played four games at third and has not recorded a hit, going 0-for-14. In the ninth inning with one out, manager John Farrell pinch-hit for him using rookie Eric Thames. The move didn’t work, as Thames struck out.