No surprises with callups for Blue Jays
Club likely to bring up only players with big league experience
TORONTO -- There won't be a lot of surprises in store for the Blue Jays come Tuesday, when Major League rosters expand.
Last season, Travis Snider was brought up from Triple-A Syracuse for his first taste of the big leagues -- though he was not technically a September callup, as Snider made his debut with the Jays on Aug. 29, 2008. With the Jays virtually eliminated from the playoff race in late August, they got a glimpse of their top prospect down the stretch.
That won't be the case this year, according to general manager J.P. Ricciardi. The Blue Jays will be calling on players with Major League experience to help out down the stretch, rather than untested prospects such as catcher J.P. Arencibia.
"I think most of the guys we'll bring up, you've seen before -- not a lot of secrets," Ricciardi said. "I don't think we're going to be bringing up anybody that's new to the big leagues. I think just guys to help us get through the month with some extra players."
Ricciardi said a combination of factors, such as recent performance, would determine who gets the nod.
"The most important thing is to get the depth there," Ricciardi said.
While the GM would not name specific players expected to be called up, the roster expansion could allow the Jays to fill needs in a number of areas.
"Right now, we could probably use an extra infielder, use an extra outfielder," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "We're probably going to have to have a couple of more arms or so -- maybe more, I'm not sure. An extra catcher, and who knows what else. But that's what I want to have right now."
As far as pitchers with Major League experience, the Jays have a lot of options on their 40-man roster. Left-hander David Purcey was in the Jays' rotation on Opening Day, but he was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas after struggling in five starts -- particularly with his command -- posting an ERA of 7.01. In 22 games for Las Vegas since then, he has gone 7-6 with a 4.82 ERA and 100 strikeouts.
Bryan Burres, who is not on the 40-man roster, made two starts for the Jays, lasting only 6 1/3 innings and giving up 10 runs in the two games. He is 6-7 with a 4.76 ERA in 19 games -- 17 starts -- for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Right-hander Robert Ray and left-hander Brad Mills have also made stars in the Majors this year, but are injured.
Right-handers Jeremy Accardo, Dirk Hayhurst, Brian Wolfe and Bryan Bullington -- who is not on the 40-man roster, and is currently on the seven-day disabled list -- and lefty Bill Murphy have also pitched for the Jays out of the bullpen this year.
As for position players, the only player on the 40-man roster who has spent time in the Majors this season and is not on the DL is utility man Joe Inglett. To add other players, the Jays would have to purchase their contracts and make room on the 40-man roster.
Inglett, 31, batted .246 in 29 games for the Jays this year, spread over two stints in the big leagues. The versatile Inglett can play both the infield and the outfield, and he spent seven games at third base last year, which could come in handy considering third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
When Encarnacion was placed on the 15-day disabled list, left-hander Scott Downs was activated, taking Encarnacion's spot on the active roster, and the Jays have not added another position player since then.
Other than Inglett, the only position player currently in the Jays' Minor League system who has even gotten close to the Majors this year is Kyle Phillips. When catcher Rod Barajas was expected to go on the DL with a hamstring injury, Toronto was set to call up Phillips, but the following morning, Barajas was healthy enough to stay on the active roster and the club canceled the transaction.
Phillips, 25, has split time catching and playing third base this season, batting .293 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas.
Ricciardi said the club would likely call up "a couple" of players on Tuesday, and bring up the rest of their September callups on Sept. 8 -- the day after the Minor League season ends.
Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.