By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
After jarring his left shoulder as a result of knocking a two-run home run in the third inning of Toronto’s 9-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, outfielder Darrell Ceciliani was formally placed on the 10-day disabled list ahead of the Blue Jays' series opener against Baltimore on Friday.
In a corresponding move, Toronto called up Anthony Alford from double-A New Hampshire. Alford, 22, has slashed .325/.411/.455 across 33 games with 10 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases as a member of the Fisher Cats this season.
Considered by many to be a top-tier talent entering his draft year, the young outfielder’s stock slipped due to signability concerns stemming from his strong desire to play NCAA football.
Despite the risk, Toronto made the native of Columbia, Miss., a third-round draft pick in 2012 before agreeing to let him attend Ole Miss in order to pursue his intentions of hitting the gridiron for his home state.
Complications limited Alford to appearing in only a handful of games between 2012 and the end of the 2014 season when the then 19-year-old made a full-time switch to baseball and accelerated his development by joining the Australian Baseball League’s Canberra Cavalry that winter.
The fleet-footed outfielder rewarded Toronto’s patience by posting an OPS of .820 across 107 games split between low-A Lansing and high-A Dunedin a year later, his first full season in the minor leagues.
With quality bat speed, impressive strength and an ability to disrupt his opponents on the base paths, Alford earned an overall scouting grade of 55 and was recently named the Blue Jays No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline prior to earning his big league promotion on Friday.
Toronto will be forced to make yet another roster move on Saturday in order to clear a spot for Kevin Pillar, who will be eligible to return to the active roster after completing his team-issued two-game suspension.
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