TORONTO -- Left-hander Evan Crawford turned an impressive showing this spring into an early promotion to the Major Leagues.
Crawford was recalled by the Blue Jays on Friday afternoon after closer Sergio Santos was placed on the paternity list.
Santos was expected to miss just one game, so it's possible Crawford's stint in the Majors could be a short one. But that didn't change the rookie's demeanor prior to Friday's matchup against the Orioles.
"Greatest baby ever," Crawford said with a wide grin in reference to Santos' wife giving birth this week. "[Getting called up is] just a moment that you grow up as a little kid and it's always what you wanted. It's something special for sure."
Crawford became one of the bigger storylines this spring, as both manager John Farrell and GM Alex Anthopoulos went out of their way to praise the rising prospect.
The 25-year-old possesses a fastball that tops out around 94 mph and uses a lethal curveball-slider combination to post impressive numbers on the mound. This season with Double-A New Hampshire, Crawford hasn't allowed a run in four innings.
"He has two above-average breaking pitches, both curveball and slider," Farrell said. "Any time you're looking at a left-hander with swing-and-miss capability, he's got three very good weapons that he can attack good Major League hitters with. I know he hasn't thrown his first pitch at the Major League level, but he has very good stuff and we wouldn't be afraid to match him up against some of those left-handers that we'll face."
Toronto has eight relievers in its bullpen, which has pitched more innings (25 1/3) than any other club in the American League. When Santos returns, it likely will be between Crawford and fellow left-hander Aaron Laffey as the candidate to be sent down.
Crawford hasn't received any guarantees about how long his stint in Toronto will last or what his role will be. But for at least one day, he was just happy to be on a big league field.
"Always want to make an impression wherever you're at," said Crawford, who went 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 51 innings for New Hampshire last year. "Obviously I want to come in and pitch well, help the team win. That's what the overall goal is."
Santos placed on paternity list by Blue Jays
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays placed Sergio Santos on the paternity list on Friday afternoon as the closer returned to California for the birth of his daughter.
Santos closed out Wednesday's 3-1 victory over the Red Sox and then departed after the game for the expected arrival of his third child.
The 28-year-old is expected to return in time for Saturday's game against Baltimore at 4:07 p.m. ET.
"He is due back tomorrow," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Right now [in time for game], yes."
Clubs may place a player on the paternity list for a minimum of one day and a maximum of three days. The roster move cleared the way for left-hander Evan Crawford to be recalled from Double-A New Hampshire, which now gives the Blue Jays eight relievers in their bullpen.
During Santos' absence, setup man Francisco Cordero will take over the ninth-inning duties.
Santos got off to a rough start this season by failing to convert his first two save opportunities. He bounced back on Wednesday by striking out Boston's Kevin Youkilis and getting David Ortiz to ground out to preserve Ricky Romero's first win of the season.
The right-hander has allowed four earned runs in three innings this season. He has a 3.51 ERA in 118 innings with the White Sox and Blue Jays.
Crawford hasn't allowed an earned run in three appearances for Double-A New Hampshire this season. He was a ninth-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and made a strong impression in Spring Training with a fastball that tops out at 94 mph, along with a very effective curveball.
Farrell shuffles lineup against righty Hunter
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays re-shuffled their lineup on Friday night, in preparation to face right-hander Tommy Hunter.
Hunter has allowed left-handers to hit .293 (215-for-734) during his five seasons in the Major Leagues. That high average prompted Toronto manager John Farrell to switch things up.
Eric Thames and Colby Rasmus each moved up one spot in the lineup to hit sixth and eighth, while third baseman Brett Lawrie and catcher J.P. Arencibia dropped one slot.
"It was to get Eric a little higher up in the order," Farrell said. "Wanted to get a few more lefties the higher up that we could and without stacking them.
"Over the course of Hunter's career, left-handers have had decent success and with their bullpen predominantly right-handed, didn't want to stack right-handers too much."
The Blue Jays entered Friday's game against Baltimore hitting just .202 (46-for-228) on the season, which ranked 12th in the Major Leagues. The one saving grace has been their ability to hit with runners in scoring position as their .363 (17-for-47) ranks first in the Majors.
Right-hander Dustin McGowan is expected to start a throwing program some time next week. McGowan is on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Toronto's starter isn't expected to make his return until mid-May at the earliest.
Toronto manager John Farrell said the club still hasn't made a decision on who will become the No. 5 starter. The Blue Jays do not need a fifth starter until April 21 and the candidates include Joel Carreno, Aaron Laffey and Drew Hutchison.