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07/15/07 1:09 AM ET

Litsch proving that he belongs in bigs

Toronto (44-46) at Boston (55-35), Sunday, 2:05 p.m. ET

With each start that Jesse Litsch makes, he continues to build a case for his future role in the Blue Jays' starting rotation.

The 22-year-old was not expected to be in Toronto's pitching plans this season, but injuries to some of the Jays' top starters changed things in a hurry. Over a three-week period earlier this season, Litsch filled in for ace Roy Halladay, who was on the 15-day disabled list after an emergency appendectomy.

During that stint, Litsch went 1-2 with a 6.63 ERA. On July 3 the rookie right-hander was called up from the Minors again, this time to fill in for No. 2 starter A.J. Burnett, who is out with a right shoulder injury.

With Burnett expected to be unavailable until early August, Litsch should have an extended period of time to prove that he belongs in the Major Leagues. He took the loss in his last outing against the Athletics despite allowing only two unearned runs over seven innings and striking out five.

Right-hander Josh Beckett will take the hill for the Red Sox. In his last outing, Beckett joined an elite group of pitchers by becoming the 17th Boston hurler to win 12 games before the All-Star break. Some of the others are Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Luis Tiant and Lefty Grove. Beckett has lasted at least six innings in 12 of his 15 outings this season and has thrown nine quality starts.

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Jesse Litsch (1-3, 4.74 ERA)
Litsch is 0-2 with a 4.11 ERA in three road starts this season.

BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (12-2, 3.44 ERA)
Beckett is 2-2 with a 5.25 ERA in six career starts against Toronto.

Player to watch
Center fielder Vernon Wells is hitting .444 (8-for-18) with four home runs and six RBIs in his career against Beckett.

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Up next
• Monday: Blue Jays (Josh Towers, 4-5, 5.07) at Yankees (Kei Igawa, 2-2, 7.14), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 10-4, 4.66) at Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 5-6, 4.27), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum, 5-3, 3.68) at Yankees (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET

Gregor Chisholm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.