Murphy fills Jays' bullpen void
Toronto (6-3) at Minnesota (4-5), 8:10 p.m. ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Blue Jays were left with a hole in their bullpen after deciding to move Brian Tallet to the rotation to replace injured starter Jesse Litsch.
Losing the left-hander during a series against the Twins -- a team with plenty of lefty bats -- convinced Toronto that another southpaw was needed. To replace Litsch on the active roster, the Blue Jays opted to promote left-hander Bill Murphy, who moves into the bullpen to serve as a middle reliever and an option against left-handed hitters.
"He's just going to be one of the guys out of the bullpen," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "He'll come in and we'll see if he can get left-handers out."
Gaston, who assumed the managerial duties for the Jays last June, doesn't know much about Murphy beyond what he saw of the pitcher during Spring Training. Coming off a successful run as a reliever for Toronto down the stretch last year, Murphy posted a 2.25 ERA over his four Grapefruit League outings during the spring.
Murphy uses a fastball, curveball and changeup and said he doesn't care what role Gaston has in mind for him. Murphy is just thrilled to be back in the big leagues for the first time since 2007, and admitted being a bit stunned to learn on Monday night that the Blue Jays needed him to report to the Metrodome for Toronto's series against the Twins.
"It was a shock. It's early," Murphy said. "There are a lot of great guys down there at Triple-A pitching well. We really haven't had many games going on, but it was a big shock. Hopefully, I'll just do what these guys are doing now, find a way to win and just do my job -- throw strikes and try to get to the guys at the end of the bullpen."
Last season, Murphy's first in the Blue Jays' organization, he served primarily as a starter at Triple-A. In 32 games, the left-hander went 8-10 with a 5.32 ERA, amassing 152 strikeouts and 84 walks over 142 innings. At the end of the season, with prospects Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil joining the Triple-A staff, the Jays asked Murphy if he was willing to move to the bullpen.
Murphy was content with the switch and he went 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA and two saves in eight games as a reliever at the end of the season. That helped convince Toronto to prepare Murphy as a reliever during Spring Training this season before sending him to Triple-A Las Vegas.
"We had the young guys -- Romero, Cecil -- those guys came up through the organization," Murphy said. "They're young, they need their innings and they asked me, 'Hey, can you go in the bullpen?' I said, 'Sure,' and I pitched really well out of it. So, I think it kind of spoke for itself. They liked me out of the bullpen."
TOR: RHP Scott Richmond (0-0, 6.75 ERA)
In his season debut on Friday, Richmond was only able to work four innings against the Indians before a lengthy rain delay -- the longest in Jays franchise history -- forced him from the game. In his abbreviated appearance, the 29-year-old rookie allowed three runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in a no-decision. The three runs Richmond allowed were each driven in by Cleveland's Travis Hafner, who tagged the pitcher for a two-run double and a solo homer. Richmond has never faced the Twins.
Baker began the year on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness. It was not a problem that the Twins felt would keep Baker out for long, but they didn't want to risk it, considering that Baker had trouble keeping his arm loose between innings during his final Spring Training outing. The right-hander has shown more consistency in each of the last two seasons and showed his focus under pressure by going 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA during the Twins' pennant chase last September. Baker is 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts vs. Toronto. Bird feed
Entering Tuesday's game against the Twins, the Blue Jays led the Majors with a .322 team average, 54 runs scored, 91 hits, 21 doubles and 155 total bases. ... The Blue Jays achieved come-from-behind wins in four of their first six victories. Toronto didn't have four comeback wins until May 18 of last season -- a span of 46 games. ... At 21 years and 70 days old, left fielder Travis Snider became the youngest Blue Jays player to record his first career multi-homer game. Snider had two blasts in Monday's 8-6 win over Minnesota. ... Gaston said that shortstop John McDonald will likely make his first start of the season on either Friday or Saturday at home against the A's. Tickets
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Thursday: Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 2-0, 3.86) at Twins (Francisco Liriano, 0-2, 6.94), 8:10 p.m. ET
Friday: Blue Jays (David Purcey, 0-1, 4.63) vs. Athletics (Josh Outman, 0-0, 6.23), 7:07 p.m. ET
Saturday: Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 0-0, 6.14) vs. Athletics (Trevor Cahill, 0-1, 2.25), 1:07 p.m. ET
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.