07/29/11 11:17 PM ET
Mills hopes to parlay start into something more
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
The 26-year-old hasn't received any guarantees from the club about how long he will remain in Toronto's starting five. All Mills knows is that he will take the ball against Texas, but he hopes that will lead to more opportunities down the road.
"They pulled me in yesterday and said, 'Hey, we want you to start on Saturday,'" Mills said. "I was excited because until then, I thought I was kind of the long man in the bullpen.
"Obviously, I've been a starter my whole career, and that's something I want to do. ... I'll take it start by start or whatever's necessary. I just hope to go out and pitch well on Saturday."
An opening was created in Toronto's rotation when left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes was designated for assignment on July 23.
If Mills struggles during his sixth career start in the Majors, he likely won't receive much leniency. One of his main competitors for the job -- Jesse Litsch -- was also recalled this week by the club.
Litsch will work out of the bullpen for now but could be ready to step in if Mills is unable to perform.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell understandably did not want to answer questions about Mills' long-term job security. He said the left-hander's performance ultimately will decide what type of role he has with the club.
"When the question is asked, it's kind of like asking a house guest, 'When are you leaving?'" Farrell said. "He's going to pitch tomorrow and likely to continue on from there.
"How his performance goes, I think every player is well aware that you continue to earn opportunities as you go out and perform."
Mills has been the most consistent pitcher for Triple-A Las Vegas this season. The native of Arizona has a 9-7 record with a 3.99 ERA in 20 starts. He struck out 114 batters while walking just 35 in 130 2/3 innings.
Those are impressive numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, where offensive production often trumps top pitching.
Now that he's with the big league club, though, Mills is looking forward to the opportunity, even if he knows he'll need to perform well to get another shot.
"Every player will tell you, 'I just want to be in the rotation and give me a fair shot or a longer leash or whatever,'" Mills said. "But I've kind of realized in three years that I've been up and down and that's kind of the way it is.
"It's a business. You want to win, and if I go and don't throw well, they might make a chance because there are other guys whether down in the Minors or here that are looking to take your job, too."
Litsch recalled to serve in unfamiliar role
TORONTO -- Jesse Litsch found himself in an unfamiliar role when the Blue Jays opened a three-game series against Texas on Friday night.
Litsch was recalled from the Minor Leagues on Thursday, but it wasn't to fill a spot in Toronto's starting rotation. Instead, Litsch will be pitching out of the bullpen.
That's something the 26-year-old has only done once before in his career. Even though he's not accustomed to the role, Litsch said he was just happy to be back with the big league club.
"I'm open minded," Litsch said. "It's great to be back up here. It's a lot better than being down in the Minor Leagues, obviously.
"Just come up here open-minded and take it as it comes. I've never done it before, so I've got to go out there and learn on the fly."
Litsch said it was too early in his transition phase to know exactly what to expect. It's likely that he will have to cut back on his six-pitch arsenal, but for now the native of Florida is mostly concerned about getting into the regular routine of a reliever.
That is expected to be his biggest challenge, and he'll have to turn to veterans like Jon Rauch and Trever Miller for advice on how to adapt.
"Knowing how quickly to get ready, when to get ready, when to start stretching," Litsch said when asked of the challenges. "Just different things. But we've got a lot of veterans down there that are going to help me with that. They're all open to questions, so you just go out there and ask what you need."
Litsch went 4-3 with a 4.66 ERA in eight starts before he was sent to Las Vegas in May.
Blue Jays will honor Alomar on Sunday
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will honor Roberto Alomar with a special Hall of Fame Day on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
The first 20,000 fans through the gates will receive a collectible Alomar bobblehead to commemorate the occasion.
The festivities officially begin at 12:29 p.m. ET, when a special screening of The Journey to Cooperstown will air on the video display board. First pitch was pushed back to 1:30 to accommodate the ceremony.
The Journey is a documentary put together by Project 10 Productions that takes a behind-the-scenes look at Alomar's path to becoming just the third Puerto Rican inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Following the screening, an on-field ceremony will begin, featuring friends and former teammates of Alomar.
The 12-time All-Star will then make history by becoming the first player in franchise history to have his jersey retired.
Alomar was inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 23 in Cooperstown, New York. He received that honor after being listed on more than 90 percent of the ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, which represents the highest percentage of any non-first-ballot electee.
The 43-year-old Alomar spent five seasons in a Blue Jays uniform. He led the club to back-to-back World Series championships in 1992-93 and each year with the club he was named to the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove for his prowess as a second baseman.
Alomar's .307 career average as a Blue Jay is the highest mark in club history with a minimum 2000 plate appearances and he also ranks second in stolen bases (206) and fifth in triples (36).