Rookie lefty Rzepczynski called up
Jays part ways with Adams to make room for southpaw
NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays made a handful of roster moves following Monday's 7-6 win over the Yankees, reorganizing their depleted rotation and parting ways with utilityman Russ Adams.
On Tuesday, Toronto will send rookie left-hander Marc Rzepczynski to the mound to face Tampa Bay in the opener of a three-game set at Tropicana Field. Rzepczynski will be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas for his Major League debut, making him the fifth pitcher to make his first big league appearance this season for the Blue Jays.
Originally, after placing right-hander Scott Richmond on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right arm on Saturday, Toronto planned on promoting left-hander Brad Mills for Tuesday's start. One day after spinning an eight-inning gem for Vegas on Thursday, though, Mills complained of bruised ribs, and the Jays needed to look elsewhere for aid.
Handing the start to Rzepczynski will set a club record for Major League debuts in one season. In Toronto's inaugural season in 1977, the club had four pitchers make their big league debuts. Rzepczynski will also be the sixth rookie and 12th starter this season for the Blue Jays, whose rotation has been decimated by injuries.
In 16 Minor League starts this season, split between Double-A New Hampshire and Las Vegas, Rzepczynski -- a fifth-round pick by the Jays in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft -- has gone 9-5 with a 2.66 ERA, compiling 104 strikeouts against 40 walks over 88 innings. In two starts since being promoted to Triple-A, the left-hander has gone 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA.
Adams was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Friday and, after clearing waivers, he elected for free agency rather than another trip to Triple-A Las Vegas. Adams has the distinction of being the first player drafted by Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi. Adams was taken with the 14th overall pick in the '02 Draft, and was billed as the team's shortstop of the future.
After serving as Toronto's regular shortstop as a rookie in 2005, Adams struggled in the field and eventually was asked to change positions. Over the past few years, Adams spent time around the infield and in the outfield, splitting time between the Minors and Toronto. In parts of five seasons with the Jays, Adams hit .247 with 17 homers and 113 RBIs over 286 games.
The Blue Jays opted to give Adams a chance to provide the club with a left-handed bat off the bench last month, promoting him from Vegas on June 21 for his first stint in a Toronto uniform since 2007. In eight games, the 28-year-old Adams hit .200 (4-for-20) and was removed in the roster in favor of veteran outfielder David Dellucci on Friday.
Following Toronto's latest win, the club activated veteran catcher Michael Barrett from the 15-day DL and outrighted him to Triple-A. Barrett suffered a right shoulder injury in April and has spent the past few weeks on a rehab assignment, beginning with a stint at Class A Dunedin before moving up to Las Vegas.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.