04/20/12 8:50 PM ET
Blue Jays confident Hutchison ready
By Vinnie Duber / MLB.com
The 21-year-old right-hander will make his MLB debut Saturday in the second game of the Blue Jays' series with the Kansas City Royals.
Hutchison entered the season as one of the Jays' top prospects -- ranked No. 7 in the Jays' organization by MLB.com -- and after three sterling starts in Double-A, he's been called up to become a part of Toronto's rotation.
"In Spring Training, I just tried to take advantage of the opportunity I was given to stay around with the team that long and just try to make an impression and show what you could do," Hutchison said. "I just tried, when I went back to the Minor Leagues, to do the same thing, just keep working hard and get better."
In his three starts with New Hampshire, Hutchison went 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA. He struck out 12 batters and allowed four runs in 16 2/3 innings of work.
Even with such a limited time in the Minor Leagues, Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he thought Hutchison was ready for the promotion. He said that if the team had any reservations about bringing Hutchison up so soon, the right-hander wouldn't be in the big leagues yet.
"The fact is he's got a lot of things that we like as a young pitcher, a young person -- the maturity level, the ability to command his fastball," Farrell said. "Even though he's got, right now, six total starts above A ball, I think speaks volumes to the fact that we're confident to bring him to the major league level with just a short Double-A experience under his belt."
Farrell said that there are some pretty big differences between Double-A and the Majors, but the game is still the same.
"The mound's still 60 feet, 6 inches away," Farrell said. "There's a second deck here. There might not be in New Hampshire. Certainly, the lineups are going to be more capable, but he's got the pitches to attack both lefties and righties. I know a lot can be made, and rightfully so, for a young guy of his experience level, but still. He's told us through his actions and the way he's handled himself that he's ready for the Major League challenge."
By the time he was drafted, Minor League baseball was nothing new for Hutchison. He grew up in Lakeland, Fla., and one of his good friends in high school was the son of the manager of the Gulf Coast League Tigers.
"I was around that a lot," Hutchison said. "I was exposed to minor league baseball. I would go there and hit. I had an idea of what Minor League baseball was like."
Hutchison said he is excited to make his first career start in front of his family. His parents and his sister will be in the crowd Saturday.
For a guy a day away from the first Major League start of his career, Hutchison was as calm as could be Friday. Will that calmness translate to the mound come Saturday?
"I don't know," Hutchison said. "I think it'll be the same. After the first pitch, I'll be fine. I'm sure there'll be a little bit of a different feeling, but I think after the first pitch, it'll be back to business."
McGowan still a ways away from return
KANSAS CITY -- According to manager John Farrell, it's going to be a while until Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan is back to full strength.
"He's in the early phases of his throwing program and really nothing more than that," Farrell said before Friday's game in Kansas City.
McGowan is currently out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Farrell said the right-hander isn't going to be back soon.
"Everyone's going to ask 'what's the projected timeline,'" Farrell said. "We almost look at it as timelines within each phase. Flat ground phase, bullpen phase and then ultimately games. Just in that description, there's still some time that's going to be needed for Dustin."
In more injured-pitcher news, Brett Cecil experienced a groin injury in a Double-A game for New Hampshire on Thursday night. Farrell said he wasn't sure how many starts Cecil will miss.
"To be determined," Farrell said. "He felt a little bit of a popping or a grabbing sensation in the left groin, and he was examined today. I think the projection right now might be two starts, but it's going to be determined on how quickly he responds, probably in the next three to five days, on what time he'll miss."
• Entering play Friday, no American League team had allowed more home runs, 20, than the Blue Jays so far this season. However, a respite from the long ball might come this weekend against Kansas City, as no American League team had hit fewer home runs, nine, than the Royals.
• Blue Jays manager John Farrell said that the increased amount of infield shifts the team is employing against opposing hitters can be contributed to his young third baseman, Brett Lawrie.
"The main contributor to that is the athleticism of Brett taking away the bunts that [Tampa Bay's Carlos] Pena and maybe some other guys would look to use a little bit more," Farrell said. "Whether it's putting Brett as almost a roving outfielder on [Adrian] Gonzalez against Boston or deep in that 3-4 hole against [Boston's David] Ortiz or [Tampa Bay's] Luke Scott or Pena, it's his athleticism that allows us to be that much more aggressive."
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.