08/04/08 10:35 PM ET
Jays called up Richmond for long stay
Toronto (56-56) vs. Oakland (53-58), Tuesday, 7:07 p.m. ET
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
That fact that Richmond's promotion from Triple-A Syracuse came days before he was due to board a flight to China with Team Canada for the Olympics is a moot point, as far as he's concerned. Right now, there's no place Richmond would rather be than Toronto.
"This is what I dreamed of as a child -- plain and simple," Richmond said. "You grow up wanting to be a Major League Baseball player. The Olympics is, obviously, the top athletes in the world -- an amazing venue. It's just kind of bad timing.
"It hurts Team Canada at the moment, but they have a lot of great pitchers -- a lot of great guys. It's not like I was the catalyst or the backbone of that team."
The poor timing is what has caused some criticism to be aimed at Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi. Richmond joined Toronto on Wednesday, leaving Team Canada a pitcher short as it prepares to depart for Beijing. Richmond said he doesn't agree with the heat Ricciardi has taken for the move.
"I don't like that he has [been criticized], that's for sure," Richmond said. "I don't think it's fair. I think he's giving me a legitimate shot to show him what talent I have and what kind of product he actually has here. I want to try my best to show him that I'm a Major League-caliber pitcher."
With Dustin McGowan sidelined for the season with a right shoulder injury, and Jesse Litsch sorting through some issues in the Minor Leagues, Toronto had holes to fill in its rotation. One spot went to lefty David Purcey and the other was handed to Richmond, who posted a 2.53 ERA in five starts after being promoted to Triple-A.
The Jays signed the 28-year-old Richmond -- a native of North Vancouver, British Columbia -- as a Minor League free agent prior to this season. Now that Richmond is with Toronto, Ricciardi has noted that the club plans on taking an extended look at what they might have in the right-hander.
If Richmond's stint was going to be a one-time stint as a spot starter, Ricciardi said Toronto would've turned elsewhere, allowing the pitcher to take part in the Olympics.
"The first thing we thought about is," Ricciardi said Thursday, "'We're not going to bring this kid up for one start and hurt his chances of playing on the Olympic team and putting the Olympic team in any kind of jeopardy.'
"We talked about that at length. We said, 'If this is going to be one start, then we wouldn't bring the kid up.' But, I also think that a lot's being made out of this."
In his first big league outing, Richmond picked up a hard-luck loss after giving up three runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings against the Rays on Wednesday. Richmond didn't show any rookie jitters, issuing no walks, and he mixed in four strikeouts in the 92-pitch effort.
Richmond will make his second start for the Blue Jays on Tuesday, when Toronto hosts Oakland in the second tilt of a four-game set. Richmond said one thing he wants to fix from his first start is falling behind early in the count.
"I just want to make sure I'm getting one of those first two pitches across for strikes," Richmond said, "so I'm not going 2-0 as much as I did in that first game. I want to attack the strike zone."
TOR: RHP Scott Richmond (0-1, 5.06 ERA)
Richmond held opposing hitters to a .241 average over 21 starts in the Minors this year.
Smith owns a 1-0 record with a 1.42 ERA in two career outings against the Blue Jays. Bird seed
Blue Jays infielder Joe Inglett was a late scratch from Monday's starting lineup due to a sore left knee. ... Entering Monday's action, the Blue Jays' bullpen ranked first in the Majors with a 3.01 ERA. ... Entering Monday, left-hander Scott Downs ranked second among American League relievers with a 1.37 ERA. Downs hasn't allowed a run in his past 12 2/3 innings. Earlier this season, Downs turned in a career-high 26 straight shutout innings. ... The Blue Jays entered Monday with 71 stolen bases, which ranked sixth in the league. It also marked the most stolen bases in a season by Toronto since the club swiped 72 in 2005. ... Toronto pitching prospect Ricky Romero (sixth overall pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft) has posted a 1.80 ERA in two starts since being promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. Tickets
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Wednesday: Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum, 5-5, 3.57) vs. Athletics (Justin Duchscherer, 10-7, 2.33), 7:07 p.m. ET
Thursday: Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett, 13-9, 4.57) vs. Athletics (TBD), 7:07 p.m. ET
Friday: Blue Jays (David Purcey, 1-2, 8.35) vs. Indians (Paul Byrd, 6-10, 4.72), 7:07 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.