By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO - As promised by Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons following Thursday's 4-0 win over the New York Yankees, RHP Chris Rowley has been called up from triple-A Buffalo and will start Saturday's game against the Pirates.
Joining Rowley on the Blue Jays will be catcher Mike Ohlman, who has also been recalled from the triple-A to take the spot of Russell Martin, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain on Saturday.
Needing to free up some space on the 25- and 40 man rosters, RHP Chris Smith and UTL Chris Coghlan were designated for assignment as part of the Blue Jays' latest roster shuffle.
Rowley, 26, has appeared with both double-A New Hampshire and triple-A Buffalo in 2017, posting a cumulative ERA of 2.29 with 90 strikeouts and 24 walks issued over 106 1/3 innings.
Despite going undrafted due to a service commitment following his senior year at the United States Military Academy, the 6-foot-2 Atlanta native received an opportunity to pitch for the Blue Jays' Gulf Coast squad in 2013 and recorded an ERA of 1.10 over 32 2/3 frames in his first professional season.
Originally reporting to Oklahoma, Rowley served in both Bulgaria and Romania over parts of the next three years, keeping his arm in shape by throwing to his fellow recruits. After completing 30 months of service, Rowley's application for military exception was granted in January 2016 and - looking to pick up where he left off in 2013 - he rejoined the Blue Jays on a minor league deal that spring.
Through parts of three seasons in pro-ball, First Lieutenant Rowley has gone 20-9 with an overall WHIP of 1.096 and a K/9 of 7.4 over 262 2/3 innings.
Having spent time with the Blue Jays earlier this season, Ohlman rejoins the big league club after slashing .222/.343/.418 over 82 games with the Bisons in 2017. His 12 home runs for Buffalo this season is tied with Raffy Lopez for the most on the club.
Martin missed 12 games with a nerve issue in his left shoulder earlier this season, so Saturday's move will mark the second time he has been placed on the disabled list in 2017. Through 81 games, the Canadian receiver has hit .222 with 12 home runs and 46 runs scored. His 46 walks this season lead all Major League catchers.
With Francisco Liriano now in Houston, and Aaron Sanchez continuing to rehab after blister issues sidelined him for the fourth time in 2017, Rowley will be competing with fellow righty Nick Tepesch for that final spot in the Blue Jays rotation once Joe Biagini returns to the majors later this month.
- Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)