6/3/2014 8:34 P.M. ET
Blue Jays' rotation has been better than expected
By Gregor Chisholm and Joey Nowak / MLB.com
DETROIT -- The starting rotation has been an area of uncertainty for the Blue Jays this season, and while the same cannot be said in Detroit, the two groups have posted relatively similar numbers.
Toronto's starting five entered the season as a perceived weakness, but it has become a rather pleasant surprise of late. On the other side, the Tigers' starters were supposed to be the best in baseball but haven't lived up to that lofty hype quite yet.
The two groups likely will eventually see some separation in their numbers, but for now they match up very evenly against each other. It's the type of news that would have come as a total shock two months ago.
"It has been a big turnaround for our rotation," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Especially coming into the season, that was the question mark. The big thing over the winter, were we going to add anybody or not? It didn't happen, so that was kind of hanging over our head, but these guys have come through."
The Blue Jays boast one of the best lineups in the Major Leagues, so they don't need a dominating performance every night from their starter. They need someone who will keep the game relatively close and allow the offense to do its thing, and that's exactly what has been occurring over the past several weeks.
Toronto's rotation entered Tuesday ranked fifth in the American League with a 3.77 ERA, fifth in opponents' batting average (.254), seventh in innings pitched (336 2/3) and eighth in WHIP (1.35). The Tigers hold a lead in ERA (3.68), opponents' batting average (.253) and WHIP (1.30), but trail in innings (320 2/3).
The fact that the Blue Jays' staff can even be put in the same conversation as the likes of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly at the start of June comes as a major surprise. But it's a testament to just how well left-hander Mark Buehrle has performed alongside the likes of R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison and J.A. Happ. Adding prospect Marcus Stroman into that mix could strengthen that core even more.
When the season is all said and done, though, Gibbons wouldn't be surprised if the Tigers are at the top for most of those major pitching categories.
"They still have the top rotation, arguably the top rotation, in baseball," Gibbons said. "They're good, you never want to face them. They've logged some innings the last few years, you get into the postseason, they go deep every year, there's some workhorses over there. They're good, they give you a chance to win every night."
Key to throw first pitch at Rogers Centre celebration
DETROIT -- Former Major Leaguer Jimmy Key will be on hand when the Blue Jays celebrate the 25th anniversary of SkyDome prior to Friday night's game vs. the Cardinals.
SkyDome, which has since been rebranded as Rogers Centre, became the world's first fully retractable stadium in 1989. The first big league game was played there on June 5 with Key on the mound and Ernie Whitt behind the plate.
To commemorate the occasion, the Blue Jays have decided to bring both of those players back to mark the quarter-century anniversary. Key will throw out the first pitch to Whitt, and former manager Cito Gaston will deliver the game's starting lineup.
The lead singer of Glass Tiger also will be on hand to perform the American and Canadian national anthems. Alan Frew was the first singer to perform live at the opening ceremonies for the stadium on June 3, 1989.
In addition to the pregame festivities, fans also will be able to relive some of the best moments in Rogers Centre's history. Fans will be encouraged to visit the 200 Level Outfield throughout the game to view a custom designed replica cake of the stadium. Celebrating alongside ACE will be SkyDome's original mascot DOMER.
Triple-A Buffalo to hold Blue Jays weekend
DETROIT -- Former Blue Jays infielders Fred McGriff and Kelly Gruber will head to Buffalo later this month to celebrate Blue Jays weekend.
Triple-A Buffalo is hosting the two-day event, which will include three Minor League games and visits by the former All-Stars. McGriff and Gruber are scheduled to be in attendance and will host autograph sessions.
June 21 will feature a single-admission doubleheader vs. Rochester (Game 1 at 5:35 p.m. ET) and the June 22 game is a Sunday matinee vs. the Red Wings at 1:05 p.m. ET. Buffalo will be wearing its specially patterned affiliation throwback jersey and cap, which is designed off the Toronto home jersey from the 1980s.
The first 3,000 fans in attendance on June 21 will receive a Bisons and Blue Jays affiliation T-shirt. On Sunday, the first 3,000 fans will receive an ACE and Buster mascot tumbler.
There's also plenty of prizes up for grabs as each inning of every game there will be a giveaway. The prizes include signed baseballs by the likes of Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Buehrle.
Blue Jays recall Jenkins to bolster bullpen
The Blue Jays recalled right-hander Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday afternoon for his fourth stint of the season with the big league club.
The 26-year-old has appeared in three games for Toronto this season out of the bullpen, surrendering three runs in three innings. He's surrendered five hits and two home runs while striking out two.
Over his three-year career with Toronto, Jenkins owns a 3.82 ERA and has appeared in 26 games.
In 13 games with Buffalo this year, Jenkins has posted a 1-3 record with two saves and a 4.01 ERA.
Toronto optioned starting pitcher Liam Hendriks to Triple-A following Sunday's 4-0 win over the Royals to account for the corresponding roster move.
• There's still no timetable for Colby Rasmus' return from a strained right hamstring. Rasmus was sent on to the club's Minor League complex on Saturday and will need to appear in at least a couple of rehab games before coming off the 15-day DL, but the club has yet to provide any information on when that will happen.
• Right-hander Sergio Santos hopes to throw a couple of bullpen sessions before the end of the week. The tentative plan would see Santos throw on Friday and possibly again on Sunday before going on a rehab assignment. If all goes well that means Santos could possibly return within 10-14 days.
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.