It took an injury in the Toronto starting rotation and another blowup by the Blue Jays’ bullpen, but Bisons ace Marcus Stroman earned his first big-league call-up to the Blue Jays late Saturday night.
Stroman was promoted and will initially join the beleaguered Toronto bullpen after Blue Jays relievers gave up six runs over the seventh and eighth innings of an 8-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park. Following Friday’s 6-5 loss to the Pirates, Toronto closer Sergio Santos was bounced from that role after giving up two ninth-inning home runs.
Starter Brandon Morrow was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a torn sheath in his hand Saturday and could miss the rest of the season. That prompted Stroman’s call-up.
Stroman, who turned 23 on Thursday, was Toronto’s No. 1 draft pick in 2012. He’s 2-2 with a 1.69 ERA in five starts for the Bisons, with 36 strikeouts and seven walks in 26∏ innings. He threw six no-hit innings in his last start Tuesday against Louisville but was pulled due to an 80-pitch limit.
An avid social media user, Stroman tweeted “Dreams do come true. Wow! #surreal” shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday after receiving news of the call-up.
Nothing was woefully wrong for Bobby Korecky.
The relief pitcher had been doing just fine, for some time in fact. If it’s not broke, he figured, why fix it?
But last season he decided it was time to add a pitch to his repertoire. Playing catch with former Bisons pitcher Mickey Storey, he worked on developing his cutter. By July he started to throw it in games and he continued to hone the pitch through spring training.
And this season it’s given the 34-year old a bit of new life on the mound.
Korecky is the only pitcher in affiliated baseball (with league qualifications) to have yet to give up a run in 2014. Korecky has thrown 20 scoreless innings this year with 19 strikeouts and only 11 hits.
And the difference has been his new best friend – the cutter.
“It’s really kind of opened some doors for me as far as pitch selection,” Korecky said of the cutter. “I’ve always been a fastball-slider guy. The past few years I’ve thrown the change-up a little bit if I had extended innings. But it always seemed like three or four pitches into an at-bat the hitter saw everything I had.
“I’m not complaining. I had some success with that throughout my career and it kind of got me to where I was.
“But with this new pitch it seems now at that stage of the at-bat I’m able to throw something they haven’t seen yet. It’s making all the difference in the world.”
The year didn’t start the way Korecky wanted. He watched Storey, a fellow reliever, throw a curve ball and a slider with success. Those weren’t pitches Korecky thought he could add to his repertoire, but it got him thinking. So he started working on the pitch with Storey in warm-ups and with then-pitching coach Bob Stanley.
“Now it’s kind of predominately what I throw,” Korecky said. “It’s kind of bizarre that it worked out that way, but I feel like it’s rejuvenated me a little bit and the success that comes with it, I just hope it sticks around.”
But it took him awhile to decide to try something new.
“That’s kind of the stubborn part of what I had done,” he said. “I did some things in Triple-A, got my opportunity in the big leagues with what I had to work with. It wasn’t necessarily broken so it was hard for me to fix it. I’m kind of that concept guy. I was afraid that adding something new would take away from what I was doing. I didn’t want to change anything.
“And then last year the beginning of the season did not go the way I was hoping it was going to go. It kinda seemed like a time to do something refreshing. That’s when the idea came. We did it, and we’re still running with it.”
The Bisons’ 6-5 win in the bottom of the ninth was their second straight walk-off win. An RBI single from Ryan Goins in the 11th inning gave the Herd a 1-0 win on Friday night. ... It was the fifth straight win for the Bisons who have won seven of their last eight. ... The paid attendance was 4,923. ... After the game, the Toronto Blue Jays recalled pitcher Chad Jenkins.
(News Sports Reporter Mike Harrington contributed to this report).