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Blue Jays to Officially Call Up Offseason Signee

Photo by Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO, ON: The Toronto Blue Jays are calling up Cuban right-hander Yariel Rodríguez. Yariel should be activated next Saturday. His journey to the Big Leagues began a year ago and now he will be able to make it a reality, per Francys Romero of Beisbol FG.

There is already a slot reserved for Rodríguez on the Toronto 40-man roster. Late in the winter, he signed a $32 million, five-year free agent contract with the Jays. The 27-year-old may have been given a final rotation slot following Alek Manoah's shoulder injury early in training. However, Rodríguez's own back spasms caused a little delay. As a result, he only appeared in two Spring Training games and pitched five innings of one-run ball.

Bowden Francis was selected by the Jays to take over Manoah's rotation place. To keep developing Rodríguez's arm strength, they optioned him to Triple-A Buffalo. Pitching twice for the Bisons, he has thrown six and a third scoreless innings, striking out ten and walking three. Rodríguez has thrown 55 and 47 pitches in each of his outings.

As the season progresses, the Jays will undoubtedly monitor Rodríguez's innings total regardless of how he is used. In 2023, he participated in just one competition, the World Baseball Classic. Following that competition, Rodriguez did not play in the MLB until the league formally declared him a free agent.

Two years ago, he was a relief only for the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball, pitching 54 2/3 innings of 1.15 ERA ball. Between the Dragons and their minor league squad in 2021, Rodríguez threw 94 2/3 innings. In 2018, he worked 133 1/3 innings as a 21-year-old in Cuba, which was the most innings he had ever worked in his career.

Yariel Rodríguez was without a doubt one of the most excited young pitchers on the free agent market this past offseason. Rodríguez will now get that chance to build up his game as well as reaching his potential in the Big Leagues.

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