Athletics-Blue Jays Preview
It was only a matter of time before the Toronto Blue Jays couldn't ignore what Liam Hendriks was doing in the minor leagues.
The right-hander will make his season debut Friday night against the Oakland Athletics as he looks to help Toronto earn a seventh victory in eight games.
Hendriks went 2-13 with a 6.06 ERA over the past three seasons with Minnesota before the Blue Jays acquired him off waivers from Baltimore in February.
He was sent to Triple-A Buffalo in early March, where he went 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA in nine appearances - seven starts.
"We just decided to split up (Mark) Buehrle and (R.A.) Dickey," manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays' official website. "They're our old reliable guys, kind of our innings eaters."
Hendriks is 0-1 with a 5.51 ERA in three games against the A's, with Alberto Callaspo (3 for 5 with a home run), Coco Crisp (3 for 5) and Yoenis Cespedes (3 for 8, HR) having success in their matchups. Josh Donaldson, tied for the team lead with 10 homers, has struck out four times in eight at-bats against Hendriks.
Hendriks will look to help the Blue Jays (25-22) continue their tear after they beat Boston 7-2 on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep.
Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista homered on consecutive pitches in the first and Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 5 for the third straight day. Encarnacion had four homers and eight RBIs in the series, and five of his last seven hits have left the ballpark.
Bautista, who has reached base in 48 of 49 games, finished 3 for 5 with two RBIs on Thursday after going 3 for 15 over his previous five.
Toronto will look to keep rolling against A's starter Scott Kazmir (5-1, 2.39 ERA), who hopes to stick around longer than his last outing.
The left-hander's start Saturday was cut short as he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after 1 1-3 innings. He gave up one run and walked three in a 6-2 win over Cleveland.
Kazmir has gone 4-5 with a 3.80 ERA in 15 outings against the Blue Jays, last facing them in 2010.
Cabrera is 9 for 22 with a homer and two doubles off Kazmir, who will look to help the A's bounce back after their five-game winning streak was snapped with a 5-2, 11-inning loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Oakland (30-17) tied it in the ninth on Cespedes' RBI double, then took the lead in the 11th on his sacrifice fly. The Rays rallied to win it in the bottom half as Luke Gregerson allowed a walkoff three-run homer.
The A's entered that contest having won 11 of 12.
Oakland, a major league best 18-7 on the road, has won eight of the last 11 meetings in Toronto.