Blue Jays stick with Mills
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
SEATTLE - Brad Mills will get at least one more opportunity to redeem himself after his three-inning, six-run start against the Mariners on Tuesday. Manager John Farrell said Mills is on track to start on Sunday in Oakland in the final game of this seven-game road trip.
“We haven’t altered our course from (Tuesday) night,” said Farrell. “There’s always internal discussion, but that hasn’t led us to make a change for Sunday.”
With a mid-80s fastball, Mills doesn’t have what it takes to overpower a big-league lineup.
“That doesn’t mean he can’t be an effective major-league pitcher,” Farrell said. “It just means he has to be more consistent with his location and with pitching ahead in the count. Then he can expand the strike zone from there with his changeup and curve ball.”
Dusty road back
Dustin McGowan is expected to stretch out to five innings in his next start at double-A New Hampshire. Tuesday, he pitched four scoreless innings.
“Four innings, 57 pitches,” Farrell said. “Next time out we’ll look to increase by an inning or at least by 10 pitches. He hasn’t yet gotten to the pitch count that we have allotted. It’s almost like, as he’s gone to double-A, he’s become that much more efficient and the velocity is still the same (97 m.p.h.).”
Edwin en fuego
Edwin Encarnacion has reached base in 16 consecutive games after hitting a home run in his first at-bat Wednesday.
Over the first 15 games of that streak, he was hitting .388 with four doubles and three home runs, a .516 OBP and a slugging percentage of .653. Since July 7, Encarnacion led the majors with an OBP of .479.
Carlos Villanueva, on the disabled list with a tired forearm, continues a flat-ground throwing program in Florida and is expected to get back on a mound shortly.
Brian Tallet, on the disabled list with a rib cage injury, is expected to make a rehab appearance with Dunedin Thursday.