04/20/12 12:26 AM ET
Blue Jays pick Hutchison for fifth starter
By Gregor Chisholm and Chris Toman / MLB.com
To make room for Hutchison on the 25-man roster, left-hander Evan Crawford, who appeared in two games with the Blue Jays, was optioned to New Hampshire. Toronto also transferred Jesse Litsch from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to make room on its 40-man roster.
"Drew's path to the Major Leagues has been relatively quick," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said about the 21-year-old. "That's a combination of talent, composure and emotional maturity as a young pitcher. He joins some other young starters that are here."
Hutchison won the fifth spot in the rotation over Jesse Chavez and, to a lesser extent, Joel Carreno, despite making just six starts above Class A in his career. He will join a staff whose oldest members are Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow at 27, while Kyle Drabek is 24, and Henderson Alvarez just 22.
In three starts at New Hampshire this season, Hutchison went 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA over 16 2/3 innings. Hutchison's stock rose considerably last year after rising through the Blue Jays organization -- pitching in three different levels -- and finished the season with a 14-5 record and 2.53 ERA. He struck out 171 batters over 149 1/3 innings, while walking just 35.
"We like the strike-throwing ability and his overall stuff and the ability to attack both left-handers and right-handers," Farrell said. "We are looking forward to seeing his debut and hopefully a long fruitful career starting for him on Saturday."
The right-hander was ranked as Toronto's No. 7 prospect by MLB.com before the start of the season.
Perez continues to impress out of 'pen
TORONTO -- Left-hander Luis Perez continues to make a strong impression out of the Blue Jays bullpen this season.
Perez has yet to allow an earned run in 8 1/3 innings of work. He entered the year splitting long relief duties with Carlos Villanueva but could eventually find himself in more crucial late-inning situations.
One of the main reasons behind the impressive first three weeks of the year has been Perez's improved ability to attack right-handed hitters according to his manager John Farrell.
"He has been outstanding," Farrell said. "Even from his first outing in Spring Training, his breaking ball has become much more consistent. He pitches with a lot of confidence and he believes in himself.
"He made a conscious effort to make an adjustment change against the attack of right-handers, they had some decent production against him last year. It shows a lot of aptitude on his part and you get a left- hander, with three pitches, that pitches middle-to-late in the game that can go multiple innings, he's a valuable pitcher for us."
The ability to better combat righties comes down to Perez's off-speed pitches. He has improved both his slider and change-up to provide a well-rounded approach on the mound. Righties are hitting just .182 against Perez this season compared to .305 from a year ago.
"He's not just a one-pitch guy that's relying on arm strength. He's pitching with three above average pitches," Farrell said.
Litsch continues recovery after emergency surgery
TORONTO -- Jesse Litsch continues to make progress from an emergency medical procedure performed on his right shoulder, but there is no timetable for his return to the mound.
Toronto's right-hander was shut down early in Spring Training because of inflammation in his shoulder. Litsch visited renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a full diagnosis that confirmed the inflammation and didn't find any structural damage.
That was supposed to be good news, and Litsch received a platelet-rich plasmas (PRP) injection to help with the healing process. Unfortunately for Litsch and the Blue Jays, that injection caused a serious infection, and Litsch was forced to undergo surgery.
"The range of motion is just starting to come back into play, but he has not started to throw a baseball yet," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Litsch, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list on Thursday night.
Litsch had been hooked up to an IV that delivered medication into his system throughout the day but has since had that removed. A recent MRI concluded that the infection has been successfully removed and now he is going through range of motion exercises to slowly work his way back into playing shape.
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.