07/26/11 8:01 PM ET
Stewart, Litsch, Mills may get nod Saturday
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Toronto is expected to promote either Zach Stewart, Jesse Litsch or Brad Mills to fill the void that was created when Jo-Jo Reyes was designated for assignment late last week.
"The same names that we discussed earlier are still being discussed," Farrell said. "Jesse, Zach, Mills are the three. We don't anticipate Saturday's starter coming from outside the organization, at least at this point."
Litsch got the start on Monday night for Triple-A Las Vegas but didn't have much success. He allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out four in five-plus innings of work.
The 26-year-old is now 1-2 with a 8.16 ERA in six starts for the 51s this year. Despite the subpar numbers, it's still possible that he could rejoin the Major League roster.
Litsch was the Blue Jays' fifth starter until he sustained an impingement in his right shoulder and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 19. He then pitched at two different levels in the Minor Leagues during his rehab stint before settling in with Las Vegas.
"There were some inconsistencies as far as location," Farrell said of Monday's start. "Overall his stuff was the same as it has been. He had some good action with his sinker and his slider was what we've been accustomed to seeing.
"It falls on his fifth day and he is certainly a strong candidate for Saturday."
Stewart, meanwhile, made his last start on Friday for
Double-A New Hampshire. He allowed just one run on six hits
in 7 2/3 innings. The native of Texas would be required to
start on seven days' rest if he got the call from Toronto.
Blue Jays not distracted by trade talks
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays say that there won't be any distractions in their clubhouse despite the looming non-waiver Trade Deadline, which is on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Veteran relievers Frank Francisco, Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor and Jon Rauch have been mentioned in various online reports in recent days, while right-hander Shawn Camp could also be available.
All five pitchers have been around the game for a long time, and since they could become free agents at the end of the year, these type of rumors are typical for late July.
"I think guys that might be in the conversation have been in those conversations before," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "There's no real strong sentiment or rumor one way or the other.
"I think our guys have done a good job of just preparing to go out and compete today. But they've also been in the game long enough that come Sunday, there's the potential for movements to take place somewhere."
The five veterans are currently ranked as Type-B free agents, which means that they could net Toronto a compensation pick in next year's First-Year Player Draft if they remain with the club through the end of the year but then depart via the open market.
That provides general manager Alex Anthopoulos with some leverage when negotiating with other teams, because he won't be forced into making a deal.
So far the rumors have been generated south of the border. The Blue Jays remain quiet on their public stance regarding trades and it's expected to remain that way up until Sunday's deadline.
Farrell has been around clubs before that have been hit hard by the constant trade talk, but he doesn't see that happening in Toronto.
"The fact is there hasn't been any reports that something is imminent, Farrell said. "There's really no internal distraction at this point.
"It's part of the world we live in today in terms of baseball. There's so much electronic information out there that guys can maybe spend too much time getting wrapped up into it. It comes back to the same thing: focus on the things you can control, and that's coming out and getting ready for today."
No time frame set for Lawrie to get callup
TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie continues to work his way back into form with Triple-A Las Vegas, though there isn't a set time frame for a potential call up to the big leagues.
Lawrie was on the verge of being promoted to the Majors when he fractured his left hand during a game on May 31. He went through a long rehab stint before re-joining the 51s on July 19.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said that it's too early to know when Lawrie's time will come.
"We still don't have a date in the near future when he would be arriving here," Farrell said. "We can't look past the six-and-a-half to seven weeks that he has missed, and he has been back a week.
"That's not to suggest that we're looking for the same amount of time going forward to balance that out. It's just wanting to be sure that he's in a good place so when he comes up he's in the best position for success here."
Lawrie is hitting .364 (12-for-33) with one home run, seven RBIs and a pair of doubles in his eight games back with Las Vegas. He is now batting .355 with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs on the season despite missing more than a month with the hand injury.
Farrell said that the reports out of Nevada have been positive, and it appears that the young third baseman is continuing to make positive strides in getting back to his old self.
"At times he will expand the zone a little bit, but that isn't anything outside of what he's worked at becoming more consistent with," Farrell said. "The last couple of days defensively have been improved, and I think it's all just a matter of getting his timing and getting into the flow of the game."
Jose Bautista started at third base on Tuesday night against Baltimore and is expected to do the same the following day. That would mark the first time that Bautista has played back-to-back days at the hot corner since suffering a twisted ankle on July 14.
Among the American League in July, Bautista entered play on Tuesday tied for first in home runs (7) and first in slugging (.783). Travis Snider is first in doubles (10) and fifth in RBIs (15) while Yunel Escobar is second in on-base percentage (.493) and third in average (.390).
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB b>. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.