Blue Jays designate struggling reliever Drew Storen for assignment
In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Drew Storen pitches during baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla. (Frank Gunn /The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, July 24, 2016 7:11PM EDT
TORONTO - Blue Jays manager John Gibbons acknowledged that Drew Storen might have been able to minimize his struggles this season had he been used more frequently.
Instead, the Blue Jays designated the scuffling right-handed reliever for assignment on Sunday, one day after he gave up three runs in the eighth inning of a 14-5 blowout loss to Seattle.
“It was one of those deals, kind of two-fold,” Gibbons said Sunday after Toronto's 2-0 victory over the Mariners. “He'd been struggling a bit but in all fairness to Drew, I didn't pitch him much on a regular basis, and I control that.
“He was very professional about that. This will give him a new start somewhere. But we also needed, in the role he was filling, a guy who can throw more than one inning.”
Storen was 1-3 with a 6.21 earned-run average through 33 1/3 innings pitched for the Blue Jays this season.
The move takes the 28-year-old off the Blue Jays' 40-man roster.
Toronto has 10 days to trade Storen or release him. If he is released, the Blue Jays would be responsible for the remainder of his $8,375,000 salary.
Storen was acquired in an off-season deal with Washington for speedy outfielder Ben Revere, but had to battle 21-year-old Roberto Osuna for the Blue Jays' closer role during spring training.
Osuna won the job, leaving Storen in a different role than he'd been used to for most of his big-league career.
“I loved the trade when it was made, it allowed us to put (Aaron) Sanchez in the rotation,” Gibbons said. “Getting a proven veteran reliever who's had a lot of success, Storen has had that. You read his bubblegum card it's pretty good. But it was just one of those years, it never really clicked.
“In spring training we threw the job up for grabs, we settled on Osuna and (Storen) had no problem with that,” Gibbons said. “But that's not easy. He'd been a closer for a number of years and he was very good at it. It was an adjustment for him no doubt about it, but he never used that as an excuse.”
Storen saved a career-high 43 games for the Nationals in 2011 but lost his job when Jonathan Papelbon was acquired in a July 28 trade last season. In September, Storen broke his right thumb while slamming the lock box in his locker after giving up a go-ahead homer to the New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes.
The Blue Jays recalled right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera in a corresponding roster move.
Tepera is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in five games with Toronto this season, his second in the majors.
- With files from The Associated Press