Everybody knew what was coming after Chien-Ming Wang was brutal for the second consecutive start for the Toronto Blue Jays, a ticket back to Triple-A in Buffalo.
Whether he accepts the assignment or opts for free agency, as is his right as a veteran Major League Baseball player, is still up in the air.
“He competes, he’s a real pro and it was good having him around,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said following Tuesday’s 7-6 setback to the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre. “I hope he chooses to stay and pitch for us down here in Triple-A and a shot to come back.”
Wang said after the game that he will make a decision on his future in the next day or so.
For a team that is struggling to get back into the playoff picture in the seemingly wide-open American League East, it had become obvious that having a flighty arm such as Wang’s was a luxury the Blue Jays could no longer afford.
The Blue Jays (41-42) have now lost four of their last six after an 11-game winning surge provided a big boost to the club’s playoff aspirations.
Toronto now remains nine games back of the Boston Red Sox in the East and 5.5 games back in the wildcard race.
After three decent starts after the Blue Jays claimed him from the New York Yankees where the former 19-game winner had been stashed in the minors, Wang imploded over his next two outings, failing to get out of the second inning on both occasions.
He departs the Blue Jays with a 7.18 earned run average and a 1-1 record.
In his place the Blue Jays have called up Todd Redmond from the Bisons, who appeared in two relief appearances earlier this season for Toronto where he allowed three runs off four hits in 4.2 innings pitched.
The 28-year-old righthander, who was plucked from the Baltimore Orioles on waivers in March, will be available in the bullpen for Wednesday’s third game of the four-game set against the Tigers.
He has also been slotted in to start Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, which was to be Ming’s next assignment.
There had been talk that the Blue Jays might elevate Marcus Stroman, who struck out 13 Tuesday night pitching for New Hampshire, Toronto’s Double-A affiliate.
That tied a New Hampshire franchise record initially set by former Major League hurler Gustavo Chacin.
Overall, the 22-year-old Stroman is 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA in nine starts for the Fisher Cats.
But the Blue Jays, their bullpen now running on fumes after Tuesday’s debacle against the Tigers, needed an arm that could provide some long relief work.
“We know what he’s doing,” Gibbons said when asked about Stroman. “Who knows what happens down the road. You want to give guys plenty of time, the younger guys. But we’re well aware of what he’s doing.”
It was also a rough night for Gibbons, who was tossed in the ninth inning by home plate umpire Alan Porter.
With one out and the light-hitting Munenori Kawasaki at the plate, Kawasaki offered at a pitch from Joaquin Benoit.
The ball appeared to graze Kawasaki on the foot but it went unnoticed by Porter, who instead ruled the pitch a foul ball.
“I don’t think he fouled it off,” Gibbons said. “He pulled the bat back and he [Porter] called foul.
“My complaint was I was looking to see if he could get some help [from the other umpires]. That’s all they do in baseball now is the umpires get together sometimes, maybe too much.”
Porter wanted no part of Gibbons plea and eventually tossed him from the game.
“I thought the way everybody in the universe’s talking now about getting things right he’d give us a little bit of courtesy and then it’s all taken care of,” Gibbons said. “That was my big complaint because...I didn’t think he touched it.”