Saunders one of five Jays' September call-ups

 Outfielder Michael Saunders (Victoria, B.C.) is one of the Toronto Blue Jays' September call-ups. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Outfielder Michael Saunders (Victoria, B.C.) is one of the Toronto Blue Jays' September call-ups. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Andrew Hendriks

Canadian Baseball Network

After watching his club snap the Baltimore Orioles' seven-game win streak with an 11-8 victory at Camden Yards, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons unofficially announced the first round of his club's September call-ups as part of his customary post-game scrum on Thursday.

Headlined by one of Ross Atkins' most intriguing deadline acquisitions, the Blue Jays newest recruits include right-handed reliever Carlos Ramirez, shortstop Richard Urena, catcher Luke Maile and a pair of outfielders in Michael Saunders and Teoscar Hernandez.

Dealt to the Blue Jays alongside Norichika Aoki in exchange for Francisco Liriano, Hernandez was the centerpiece addition during the club's busy non-waiver trade deadline on July 31.

The 24-year-old outfielder --complete with his 698-game .269/.339/.454 slash line in the minors -- projects to be a big part of the Blue Jays' future, and will likely receive an extended look down the stretch.

A converted outfielder, Ramirez, 25, has excelled since making a full-time move to the mound midway through the 2014 season. Since that point, the Dominican hurler has pitched to an ERA of 2.42 with an overall WHIP of 1.323 across 106 appearances. Those totals include a 2017 season in which he's thrown an impressive 37 2/3 frames without allowing an earned run, striking out 45 and walking only 10 batters.

An All-Star in 2016, Saunders' offensive production took a hit during the second-half of last year's campaign as the veteran outfielder went on to finish the season with a slash line of .253/.338/.478 over 140 games. 

Signed by Philadelphia to a one-year, $8M deal in the offseason, the Canadian outfielder was released by the Phillies after struggling out of the gate in 2017. He later agreed to a minor league pact with the Blue Jays and produced an OPS of .725 over 35 games with the triple-A Bisons prior to Friday's recall.

Urena, 21, slashed .246/.285/.358 with 44 extra-base hits over 128 games with double-A New Hampshire in 2017. Signed as an international free agent in 2012, the slick fielding shortstop joins the Blue Jays ranked as the team's No. 11 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.com.

Having recovered from an untimely knee injury that forced him off the Blue Jays' 25-man roster in early July, Maile will return to the Show thanks in part to both expanded rosters and team's need for a defensive upgrade over their current catching tandem of Miguel Montero and Raffy Lopez.

Friday's call-ups represent only the first wave of additions made to the Blue Jays' active roster this September. Following common practice during this stretch of the Major League schedule, more names are sure to be added in the weeks that follow.

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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.