8/16/2014 6:48 P.M. ET
Drabek relieved to get chance out of bullpen
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Former top prospect Kyle Drabek is back with the Blue Jays, but this time it's in a very different role.
Drabek was once expected to become an integral part of Toronto's starting rotation. Those days appear to be over, but the hope is that he can now develop into an efficient reliever.
The transition began in Triple-A Buffalo earlier this season and after a series of strong outings, he was rewarded on Saturday afternoon with a promotion to the big leagues.
"When they told me, it was hard for me, being a starter your whole career," Drabek said. "But the guys we had down there in the bullpen helped out a bunch. They showed me the ropes, taught me things I didn't know even though I spent time in the bullpen the last two Septembers. Talked to them, helped get my mind right and get my career started in the bullpen."
Drabek made 30 starts over the past four seasons and posted a 5.14 ERA in 161 innings. His biggest problem was a lack of command, with 104 walks compared to 107 strikeouts. With a move to the bullpen, he simplified his repertoire and focused more on being aggressive with the fastball.
The move appeared to pay off as Drabek posted a 2.77 ERA in 26 relief innings. He struck out 16 and walked five batters, with the overall numbers comparing much more favorably to a 4.46 ERA as a starter.
Drabek is out of options on his contract next season so the Blue Jays need to figure out how he fits into the future, and this appears to be the first step.
"Being in the bullpen, you don't have much time to get going," Drabek said. "You have to attack faster. I kind of enjoyed that, being able to just go out there and blow people away. My arm has been feeling good even though sometimes I'll have seven days off, two days off, one day off. I've just been happy my arm has been able to keep going."
Stroman back at work following tough outing
CHICAGO -- Marcus Stroman experienced the worst start of his young career on Friday night, but pitching coach Pete Walker doesn't think it had anything to do with tipping pitches.
Stroman and Walker were spotted on the field doing some work off flat ground prior to Saturday night's game. The focus appeared to be on Stroman coming to a set position and the positioning of his glove.
That sometimes indicates there is a concern about a pitcher somehow tipping a hitter off as to what is coming next. Walker quickly dismissed that notion by pointing to the fact that Stroman didn't really give up any hard-hit balls.
"Generally speaking, it was just an inning that unraveled," Walker said. "He didn't have a chance to adjust after the first inning, you're out of the game. I think a couple of balls found holes, they squared a couple up, he certainly wasn't as sharp as he has been, but I know he's anxious to get the ball again."
Stroman allowed five runs on five hits, a walk and a balk during Friday night's 11-5 loss to Chicago. It marked the third time in 14 starts that he wasn't able to complete at least four innings but Stroman has been relatively flawless in his other outings.
The performance against Chicago wasn't pretty, but it's also the type of outing in the long run that could turn into a learning experience.
"I think it will be," Walker said. "This game can be humbling, as quickly as you work hard to get into a groove you get knocked back a little bit. It's eye-opening, you realize what you need to do and how every team is capable of putting up runs on the board and putting hits up there."