Blue Jays claim Hendriks for pitching depth
Right-hander likely to open year in Triple-A; Morel bumped from roster
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays added some more organizational depth to their pitching staff by claiming right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Orioles on Friday afternoon.
Hendriks, 25, spent last season with the Twins and posted a 1-3 record with a 6.85 ERA in 10 appearances, including eight starts. He owns a career 2-13 record with a 6.06 ERA over three seasons in the big leagues.
Hendriks likely won't contend for a spot on the 25-man roster, considering the Blue Jays already have tough decisions to make with their starting rotation and bullpen. The more realistic scenario would see Hendriks open the year with Triple-A Buffalo.
The native of Australia has one Minor League option remaining on his contract. He was designated for assignment by Minnesota during the offseason and suffered a similar fate earlier this week when the Orioles officially signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year contract.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Hendriks, the Blue Jays designated infielder Brent Morel for assignment. The move comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering Morel was mentioned as a possible candidate to compete for the final spot on Toronto's bench.
Morel was a bit of a long shot for that role, but he has the ability to play third base and was going to see some time at second this spring. Morel spent most of last season with Triple-A Charlotte of the White Sox organization, and he hit .266 with 39 extra-base hits and a .751 OPS.
The 26-year-old has appeared in 194 Major League games over four seasons, recording 13 home runs and 54 RBIs. Morel could remain with the Blue Jays organization, but he must first clear waivers.
Outfielder Moises Sierra, who is out of options, remains the early favorite for the final spot on the bench. The club's decision later this spring, though, will hinge on whether it carries seven or eight relievers to start the regular season.
Jays pitchers throw to hitters for first time in camp
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays held their first official day of full team workouts on Friday in what can be considered a sign that the regular season is just around the corner.
Toronto put all of its players through a full morning of workouts with a schedule that was concluded with live batting practice. It was the first opportunity for pitchers to throw with hitters in the batter's box after spending the past week working exclusively in side sessions.
R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Esmil Rogers, Dustin McGowan, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek were among those who got some work in with another group scheduled to throw on Saturday.
"To be honest, they all look really good," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I saw Dickey, I was primarily over there to watch [Erik] Kratz catch him and he looked really good. Better than he has been in the bullpen with him.
"I was limited in the number of guys I saw but it goes back to the day we started, they seem locked in. We have some pretty good arms down there but until we start playing games it's really tough to tell."
The Blue Jays are set to open their Grapefruit League season on Wednesday with a game against the Phillies. Toronto has yet to announce its pitching schedule for the upcoming exhibition games but that news is expected to be released either Saturday or Sunday.
• Right-hander John Stilson suffered a minor hamstring injury during Thurday's workout and he was held out of action the following day. It's not immediately clear when Stilson will be able to return but it doesn't appear as though it's going to be a major concern. Stilson, who is ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect by MLB.com, is expected to start the season with Triple-A Buffalo.