The Toronto Blue Jays have claimed right hander Juan Abreu from the Houston Astros after he was designated for assignment on August 7. In a corresponding move, they have also designated Canadian right hander Scott Richmond for assignment.
Abreu, 27, was signed by the Kansas City Royals as an international free agent in 2001 as a 16-year old, but he did not make is professional debut with the Rookie-level Arizona League Royals until 2005. He signed as a minor league free agent with the Atlanta Braves in 2009 before being traded with three other players to the Astros for Michael Bourn.
He made his debut on August 29 last season for Houston, and finished the year with 7 relief appearances, going 6.2 innings. His numbers: 6 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 12 K, 3 BB.
He has spent the entire 2012 season with AAA Oklahoma City (PCL), pitching exclusively in relief. In 45 innings, he has recorded a 7.09 ERA, 1.752 WHIP, giving up 12 homers in that span, striking out 54 and walking 34.
Richmond, 32, had 3 relief appearances with the Blue Jays this year, including a two-out effort on Canada Day. He gave up 2 runs on 5 hits during his 3 Major League innings this year. In AAA Las Vegas (PCL), he had 22 starts and has an ERA of 5.89, a WHIP of 1.572, and 21 home runs allowed. He also struck out 96 while walking 41.
I don't expect this to be anything more than an organizational depth move for the Blue Jays. Perhaps at the end of the season they can send Abreu back to the Astros as the player to be named later in the J.A. Happ trade!
It is sad to say good bye to a good ol' Canadian and fan favourite in Scott Richmond, but he was not going to find playing time with the big club anyway. Perhaps he clears waivers and stays with the organization. He was great in April 2009, finishing the month with a 3-0 record with a 2.70 ERA while striking out 20 en route to winning the American League Rookie of the Month award.