08/01/12 2:10 AM ET
Bullpen receives boost with new acquisitions
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Both hurlers were acquired in separate trades late Monday night and provide a much-needed boost to a relief corps that has been decimated by injuries in recent weeks.
The two moves immediately help the Blue Jays pitching staff and also improve depth in the future as both relievers are under club control for a long period of time.
"There are two components, one is a short-term one, and it bolsters our bullpen now, and with their age and years remaining under contract, there's an eye to the bigger picture, as well," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
"This answers some of those questions going forward of who you can build with."
Lincoln goes from a Pirates team that is leading the National League Wild Card standings to a team that faces an uphill battle to get back into contention. The Blue Jays entered play on Tuesday night trailing by 4 1/2 games for an American League Wild Card with a total of six teams ahead of them.
That could be a letdown for a lot of players but Lincoln said he wasn't caught off-guard by the trade and is looking forward to an opportunity with a team that will use him as a setup man.
"My mentality fits that pretty well," said Lincoln, who posted a 2.73 ERA in 59 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh. "For me to use my stuff like I know how has been a long time coming. Now it's finally starting to come together.
"It's either time to put up or shut up. For me, at this time of my career, I'm going to have to start putting up numbers to stick around. That brought me to the realization now is the time to step it up."
Delabar finds himself in somewhat of an opposite position. He goes from a Mariners team that has the third-worst record in the American League to one that sits at an even .500.
The 29-year-old has surrendered nine home runs in just 36 2/3 innings this season but has limited left-handers to an .089 batting average in 56 at-bats this season. He has been working on a new pitch in hopes improving the .243 mark against righties.
"I began working on a slider, a pitch that kind of can combat the right-handed hitters," said Delabar who throws in the mid-to-high 90s. "Those are the guys that have been hitting home runs. The main focus is to get that third pitch, or maybe just another pitch, that I can throw when I'm behind in the count so those guys aren't just sitting on fastball.
"Because when you're supplying a lot of the power, all those guys have to do is catch up with it and it goes a long way."
Sierra makes Major League debut in right field
SEATTLE -- Moises Sierra made his Major League debut on Tuesday night after being promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier in the day. He started in right field and went 1-for-3, scoring a run in the third inning.
Sierra takes over the spot that was left vacated when Toronto dealt left fielder Travis Snider to the Pirates on Monday night for right-hander Brad Lincoln.
To make room on the 25-man roster, the Blue Jays optioned relievers Joel Carreno and Evan Crawford to Las Vegas. The latest moves leave the Blue Jays with the eight-man bullpen they have been carrying for most of the past two months.
"When they were trading those guys yesterday it crossed my mind that I might be called up to the big leagues knowing that they probably need somebody in the outfield," Sierra said through interpreter Luis Rivera.
"I'm prepared, I'm looking forward. I'm going to get on the field and show everything that I have, show the potential that I have."
Sierra is expected to platoon with fellow rookie Anthony Gose in right field until Jose Bautista returns from a sprained left wrist. When Bautista does get back into the lineup, which isn't expected to happen at least until the end of the week, Sierra likely will find himself back in Triple-A Las Vegas.
The 23-year-old was hitting .289 with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs in 100 games for the 51s this season. General manager Alex Anthopoulos compared him to Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and said he was even considered for a callup last season.
"I didn't know I was compared to Cruz," Sierra said. "In the past, I've been compared with Raul Mondesi, I've heard that before. But I'm very happy knowing that they compare me with a guy that has been successful in the big leagues."
Sierra was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005 by then-general manager J. P. Ricciardi. He is currently ranked as the club's 15th best prospect according to MLB.com.
Thames excited for fresh start with Seattle
SEATTLE -- Eric Thames has the fresh start he was probably looking for after being dealt to the Mariners on Monday night.
Thames began the year as Toronto's starting left fielder after beating out Travis Snider for the job in Spring Training. He was later optioned to the Minors following a disappointing start to the year and watched as Snider, Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra passed him on the depth chart.
Now Thames finds himself back in the big leagues with a second chance to prove he has what it takes to make it at the next level. He has always been a positive guy, but on Tuesday afternoon he couldn't have looked any happier to be at Safeco Field and in a Mariners uniform.
"It's just a great opportunity," said Thames, who hit .243 with three homers for the Blue Jays this year. "I felt like in Triple-A I had no idea what was going on, what was going to happen. Now, talking to the GM of the Seattle Mariners, and knowing it's a fresh chance for a new start with a great band of teammates.
"It's very exciting and you can't help but feeling enthused. I really am, it's a great opportunity for me to come here and play ball with a new team and develop with these players."
Thames, who was not in the starting lineup against Toronto on Tuesday night, was pulled in the middle of an at-bat on the eve of the non-waiver Trade Deadline. He was already aware that Snider had been traded, and the San Jose native assumed he was being taken out of the game to be called up to the Blue Jays.
It wasn't until 10-to-15 minutes later that Thames was informed he was being sent to Seattle in exchange for right-hander Steve Delabar. The irony of being traded on the same night as Snider wasn't lost on the 25-year-old.
Thames spent most of the offseason and all of Spring Training constantly being compared to his fellow outfielder. Even though Thames initially won the job, it was a difficult time made even more challenging when he was demoted to the Pacific Coast League in May.
"It was very trying because it was my first time going through that media firestorm," Thames said. "It was different, it was a learning experience, I feel like I came out a better man and that's the biggest result that I could ever ask for.
"Now, it's just hit the ground running, keep learning, keep adapting to the game, keep learning from the veterans and it's going to be very exciting. "