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08/28/08 7:16 PM ET

Marcum completes first Minors start

Jays pitcher allows three runs in seven innings

ST. PETERSBURG -- Sent to the Minor Leagues to work on his pitch command, Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum completed his first start in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday night, turning in seven innings in a loss with Triple-A Syracuse.

In the outing, the 26-year-old Marcum allowed three runs on five hits -- two of the runs and four hits came during the first inning against Triple-A Rochester -- and finished with nine strikeouts and two walks. Marcum logged 104 pitches, including 71 for strikes, in the effort.

Barring a promotion, Marcum could make one more start for Syracuse on Monday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Following that appearance, it's likely that the right-hander will rejoin Toronto and be inserted back into the starting rotation. Marcum is 8-6 with a 3.60 ERA in 22 starts for the Jays this season.

Marcum was sent to the Minors after struggling with his pitch location over a seven-start span, following a month-long stint on the disabled list due to a right elbow injury. After being activated on July 22, Marcum went 3-2 with an uncharacteristic 6.19 ERA and a .295 opponents' batting average, compiling 23 strikeouts and 16 walks across 36 1/3 innings.

Prior to landing on the DL, Marcum was one of the top starters in the AL, posting a 2.65 ERA while limiting hitters to a .198 average over 15 starts. He struck out 86 and walked just 27 over 98 2/3 innings and logged at least six innings in each of his starts, with the exception of a rain-shortened outing on May 18.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.