According to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter), the Blue Jays have signed 42-year-old right-hander Miguel Batista to a minor league contract. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos confirmed the move soon after while doing an interview on Prime Time Sports.
A veteran of 18 major league seasons, Batista started last season with the Mets, where he amassed a 4.82 ERA in 30 appearances (46 2/3 innings), including five starts. He was then picked up by the Braves in the summer after being released by New York, and only tossed six major league innings for Atlanta while logging 24 innings for their Triple-A affiliate, the Gwinnett Braves. Batista was signed to a minor league deal by the Rockies in January with an invite to spring training, but was released on March 25 after surrendering 13 runs (seven earned) on 14 hits in just seven spring innings.
The signing might seem to have come out of nowhere, but Batista should slot nicely into a newly-created void in Buffalo’s starting rotation as Todd Redmond, Buffalo’s projected No. 5 starter prior to Opening Day, was recently transferred to the disabled list. With Toronto’s commitment to ensuring Buffalo is a competitive club, the Blue Jays looked outside the organization for a replacement instead of finding a solution internally once again. With a handful of pitchers on the disabled list at Double-A New Hampshire, the Blue Jays promoted right-hander Casey Lawrence to Buffalo from Dunedin to start last night, and he gave up six runs (five earned) on 10 hits in just four innings of work in his Triple-A debut.
There’s also the possibility that Batista pitches out of the bullpen, as Dave Bush, pegged as a starter for the Bisons prior to his call up by the Blue Jays, cleared waivers following being designated for assignment and will return to Buffalo.
Batista, a native of the Dominican Republic, owns a career 4.29 ERA in 902 minor league innings.