Blue Jays-Royals Preview


Already boasting one of the youngest rotations in the majors, the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to get even more youthful Saturday night.

Drew Hutchison is slated to make his major league debut against the struggling Kansas City Royals, who have lost eight in a row and are off to their worst start at home in franchise history.

The oldest members of Toronto's starting staff are 27-year-olds Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero. Kyle Drabek is 24, and Henderson Alvarez is 22.

Hutchison will become the youngest member of the rotation when he takes the mound Saturday.

"I'm real excited and thankful for the opportunity that the organization's given me," he told the team's website. "I'm just going to go out there and compete, try to give the team a chance to win and go as deep into the game as I can. Just like any other game.

"It's a little different, but I think after the first pitch, it'll just be right back to business."

The 21-year-old right-hander has started six games at Double-A New Hampshire, including three this year, but made an impressive rise through the Blue Jays system in 2011. He was 14-5 with a 2.53 ERA at three levels and struck out 171 over 149 1-3 innings while walking 35.

Hutchison was 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA in the minors before Toronto (7-6) purchased his contract Thursday.

"We like the strike-throwing ability and his overall stuff and the ability to attack both left-handers and right-handers," manager John Farrell told the team's website. "We are looking forward to seeing his debut and hopefully a long fruitful career starting for him on Saturday."

Hutchison's debut will come against a Royals team that's on its longest losing streak since dropping 10 in a row from July 10-24, 2009, with its past seven losses during its opening homestand of the season.

Kansas City (3-10) has scored a combined nine runs over the last four games and gave up three in the eighth inning of a 4-3 loss in Friday's series opener.

J.P. Arencibia had two hits for Toronto and drove in a pair of runs, including the tying one. Jose Bautista singled in the go-ahead one, and the Blue Jays turned their first triple play since Sept. 21, 1979, on Eric Hosmer's line drive in the third inning.

"That's kind of the way things are going for us right now,'' Hosmer said. "It's been that way the last couple of weeks. It was a big situation, first and second. It was one tough break. It's the first in my lifetime. He threw a fastball in. I saw it good and put a good swing on it. It's obviously not the result we wanted.''

Arencibia is 4 for 7 over his last two games after going 2 for 32 (.063) to start this season.

If he starts again Saturday, the Toronto catcher will try to keep things rolling against Royals starter Luis Mendoza (0-2, 5.59), who is coming off one of the worst outings of his career. The right-hander was tagged for a personal-high nine runs over four innings during a 13-7 loss to Cleveland on Sunday after yielding one run over 5 2-3 innings in his season debut, a 1-0 loss in Oakland on April 9.

Mendoza is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts against Toronto, with his most recent one Aug. 3, 2008, while with Texas.

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