Down goes Castro, Copeland

* The six-man rookie crew which left Dunedin is now down to three: RP Miguel Castro was demoted to triple-A Buffalo joining LHP Daniel Norris and OF Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.). ....

Trevor Bauer entered Sunday’s game having made four outstanding appearances in 2015, and carving out a 2-0 record to go along with an imposing earned run average of 1.80 inning prior to his first career start against the Toronto Blue Jays, who were tasked with facing one of the games most dominant performers of this young season.

The club responded by plating six runs in 4 1/3 innings off the Tribe’s hard throwing right-handed hurler.

Still, a daunting five run deficit wasn’t enough to overtake a team that, prior to Sunday afternoon, had won only eight of their 23 games played since coming north from Arizona earlier this spring.

With two on and four Cleveland runs across already, manager John Gibbons elected to go to his bullpen, hooking a laboring, Drew Hutchison with one out in the fifth.

Two pitchers and four Cleveland runs later, Brett “don’t call me Willie-Mays” Hayes struck out swinging to record the final out of the Indians frame.

It was a scene that’s played out far to many times this season.

Simply put, the Jays pitching staff just isn’t getting the job done and despite leading the Majors in runs scored with 144, Toronto limps off a disheartening road trip two games below .500 and last in the American League East.

Prior to Sunday’s game at Progressive Field, Toronto’s pitching staff had a combined earned run average of 4.91 on the season. For those keeping score at home, that’s third worst in the majors ahead of only the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies, respectively.

The issues start in the rotation … A rotation that’s only produced eight quality starts in 26 games, an ERA north of 5.00 and has chewed up only a fraction of the team’s innings pitched in 2015.

Naturally, poor starts lead to a taxed bullpen and, in Toronto, the term “taxed” may be putting things lightly.

Late Sunday night, the Blue Jays turned to triple-A Buffalo in order to help shore up a bruised and battered relief staff prior to the start of Monday night’s series against the first place Yankees.

From the Bisons Toronto selected the contracts of both Steve Delabar and fellow right-handed reliever, Chad Jenkins while optioning a pair of hurlers in Miguel Castro and recent call up, Scott Copeland.

Capped off by two in Sunday’s loss, Castro, who got off to a strong start with the Jays in early April, had allowed a total of six earned runs over his past seven appearances and Copeland, 27, the former Baltimore Orioles draft who made his MLB debut with the Jays on Saturday, pitched two scoreless frames in back to back games this weekend.

Appearing in nine games for the Herd this season, Delabar amassed an ERA of 1.00 while striking out seven and walking two over nine innings of work this season. Striving to reclaim the form that earned him an all-star nod in 2013, the 31-year old produced modest numbers during Grapefruit League play in 2015, but was edged out of a job due to the dominating performances of both Roberto Osuna and Castro.

Jenkins, like Delabar, impressed in the spring but fell victim to the numbers game with both Liam Hendriks and Todd Redmond entering the 2015 season without options remaining on their contracts. In four appearances with Buffalo (all starts) the 27-year-old product of Chattanooga, Tenn. went 1-1, allowing only two earned runs in his last 16 innings.

With jobs on the line, bullpen usage remaining a topic of concern and the Bisons playing out of a ballpark that sits only a short trip down the QEW, the Blue Jays will remain quick to option players as needed.

And with their starters averaging under five innings of work over the few weeks, the Blue Jays remain in need of a strengthen relief corps.

WILKINS TRADED TO THE DODGERS
In addition to the reliever swap between Buffalo and Toronto on Sunday, the club also finalized a deal that sent first baseman, Andy Wilkins to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for cash considerations.

Wilkins, 26, led the International League in home runs last season and was selected off waivers from the Chicago White Sox at the end of spring training. In 21 games with triple-A Buffalo this season, the left handed swinging infielder hit .241 with four doubles and an OBP of .353.

        -Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)


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Andrew Hendriks

Born in southern Ontario during the late 1980's, Hendriks had a front row seat to watch the Blue Jays reach the pinnacle in '92/'93 as a child, an experience that only bolstered this Canadian's love for the "American Game." Having played since before his memory allows access too, his passion for Baseball grew over years of emulating his heroes on the local sandlots, memorizing the backs of chewing gum scented cards and travelling across North America to experience as many aspects of the game as possible. In 2009, Hendriks began volunteering at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a Weekend Tour Guide. By 2010, he was hired on to help curate for the museum & Instruct the fundamentals of the game along side such legends as Tony Fernandez, Roberto Alomar and Jim Fanning during the Hall's annual Kids On Deck program. Following the 2011 season, Hendriks began blogging and co-hosting a weekly podcast for www.BackInBlue.ca, a Blue Jays themed website ran by fans, for fans. Looking to continue connecting with baseball fans across the country, Hendriks is excited to join such a strong team at the Canadian Baseball Network and looks forward to chipping in.