The Toronto Blue Jays have named right-hander Trent Thornton to their starting rotation, giving the 25-year-old a chance to make his MLB debut while the team awaits the return of injured pitchers Ryan Borucki and Clay Buchholz.
Manager Charlie Montoyo made the announcement Tuesday before Toronto’s pre-season finale against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Blue Jays acquired Thornton from the Houston Astros in the off-season in exchange for infielder Aledmys Diaz.
Thornton went 9-8 with a 4.42 earned-run average at triple-A Fresno last season. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Astros in 2015 and ranked Houston’s No. 24 prospect at the time of the trade, per MLB Pipeline.
His last start came Saturday when a Blue Jays split-squad beat the New York Yankees 7-3. He gave up a three-run homer to Gleyber Torres in the first inning but settled down after that, finishing with three earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks over 3 2/3 innings.
“He’s got the stuff to compete in the big league,” Montoyo said. “That game I saw against the Yankees, with a good lineup? I thought he was very good. It tells me that he’s ready to compete in the big leagues. It was just one start but he’s got the stuff to do it.”
Borucki, who was coming off a solid rookie season with Toronto in 2018, will open the year on the injured list with a sore elbow. The 24-year-old experienced elbow discomfort during spring training.
Montoyo also announced Tuesday that top prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr., appears ahead of schedule in his rehab from an oblique injury suffered in spring training.
Injured pitchers Buchholz and Ryan Tepera should be ready to join the big league club by mid-April, Montoyo said.