The National Post’s John Lott tweeted moments ago that the Toronto Blue Jays have demoted Brett Cecil all the way down to Double A, and have called up Joel Carreno. Lott believes that Carreno will start the third game of the season in Cleveland, after Rickey Romero and Brandon Morrow, with Henderson Alvarez starting the home opener and Kyle Drabek following him in the rotation.
We’ve become rather familiar in the last week with Cecil’s struggles to not only find his fading velocity, but also some semblance of command on the mound. He struggled to the point of hilarity in his last Spring Training start yesterday, and in no way appeared ready to being the season at the MLB level.
Carreno, meanwhile, impressed as a reliever in his eleven appearances at the big league level last year, striking out almost a quarter of the batters he faced while only walking 6.8%. In his limited sample, he also showed an ability to keep the ball on the ground, inducing 22 ground balls compared to 14 fly balls and five line drives with his low nineties sinker. His ability to throw a curve ball for strikes has led to something of an over reliance, but as batters adjust to his approach, he’ll have to adapt.
The big question is whether or not he can adapt as a starter going through a lineup multiple times. Frankly, my money is on “not so much.” However, he found some success last season as a starter in New Hampshire. Unless he’s been able to further strengthen his sinker since last year, we can expect a lot of long innings with Carreno on the mound where batters get few pitches to hit. That will most likely result in a lot of strikeouts, but also a lot of walks, and then, as he tires, a lot of hits and a lot of runs.
I’d say hopefully, this audition is brief, but there isn’t a whole lot of extra depth among Major League ready starters in the organization. It’s expected that the Blue Jays will go to a four man rotation after the opening two series, at least until April 21.