Blue Jays Scramble To Replace 3 Injured Starters

Shawn Hill of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays defeated the Mariners 1-0. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

Most teams couldn't withstand the loss of three-fifths of their starting rotation in a week, but the Blue Jays did so by sweeping the Phillies. How can they continue to win going forward?

The Toronto Blue Jays have had an amazing streak of bad injury luck the last few days, with three starting pitchers (Kyle Drabek, Brandon Morrow and Drew Hutchison) all leaving games with injuries before the first inning even ended.

That has to be a record, but no one keeps track of such things, probably rightly so. No team wants to think about this possibility.

The Blue Jays, desperate for any sort of pitching, have brought a former Jay back from the independent Atlantic League's York Revolution. Via press release from the team:

The two-time defending Atlantic League Champion York Revolution has announced the contract of starting pitcher Shawn Hill has been purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays. The transaction makes Hill the third arm from the Revolution staff to join a Major League Organization this season. Reliever Ian Thomas joined the Atlanta Braves on May 17, and starter Ryan Feierabend inked a deal with the Cincinnati Reds on June 5.

Hill's time in York was relatively brief, but the right-hander made a tremendous impact. Once Hill became a regular in the Revolution starting rotation, he did not allow a run in the final 27 and two-thirds innings he pitched in a York uniform, over his final five starts for the club.

Regardless of the level of competition, 27⅔ consecutive scoreless innings is impressive. Hill, who is a Toronto-area native, pitched for the Jays briefly (four starts) in 2010, and before that for the Padres and Nationals. In fact, he's been around long enough that he's a former Montreal Expo (three starts in 2004).

Beyond Hill, the Jays have some internal options for rotation replacement, although the recently-recalled Robert Coello will go into the bullpen:

Coello isn't expected to enter the mix for Toronto's rotation, but he could find a home in long relief if Carlos Villanueva or Aaron Laffey are transitioned into a starting role.

Villanueva started 13 games for the Jays in 2011, though he wasn't very good at it, posting a 5.15 ERA as a starter, as opposed to 1.60 in relief. Laffey last started games in 2010 when he was with the Indians.

The Jays swept the Phillies in Toronto over the weekend and stand 6½ games out of first place in the tight AL East; with the second wild-card spot in the mix and the Jays third in the AL in runs scored, they've got legitimate postseason dreams if they can fill those rotation spots with pitchers better than Villanueva, Laffey or Hill. You can bet that Alex Anthopoulos will be running up his cellphone minutes trying to deal for a starting pitcher or two in the immediate future.

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