In what is expected to be the top news item in Toronto sports this Wednesday, Ben Nicholson-Smith reported that corner outfielder Alex Hassan has agreed to a minor league deal with the Blue Jays and will be assigned to Dunedin for some extended spring training as he last played in a game on May 6.
Hailing from Boston, Hassan was drafted by the Red Sox in the 20th round of the 2009 draft from Duke University, a year before Marcus Stroman started school there. The 27-year-old (he's not young) made his major league debut with the Red Sox last June but only stuck around for a couple of games before being optioned back to triple-A until August when he was recalled for a single game.
Despite having one option year remaining (2015), Hassan was designated for assignment in November to make room for some Rule 5 Draft-eligible prospects, starting a domino effect that saw him being claimed on waivers five times since then. He was first claimed by the Athletics, then three days later claimed by the Orioles, after spending a couple weeks at spring training with the O's, the A's claimed him again. While in triple-A Nashville he was DFAed by Oakland a few days into the season and was lost to the Rangers on waivers. After three weeks with Round Rock he was claimed again by the A's and returned to Nashville to face Round Rock but after just four games the A's decided to DFA him yet again. And finally as a coup de grâce, he was eventually released and was finally allowed to be free.
Brian MacPherson spoke with Hassan on the very subject of being ping-ponged around the league. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays front office personnel are also prone to press the DFA button.
Hassan will eventually head to the Bisons and give them some outfield depth (recall that both Dalton Pompey and Caleb Gindl came out of the game yesterday). He performed well for Pawtucket in 2014, hitting .287/.378/.426, showing good plate discipline by walking 12.7% of the time and striking out in 23.0% of plate appearances, which is pretty close to his career minor league numbers.
Jeff Francis made it through outright waivers unclaimed so he will report to triple-A Buffalo Friday, reports Nicholson-Smith. He will likely re-join the Bisons' rotation. Seeing that he didn't elect free agency before re-signing, it looks like the Blue Jays don't expect him back within 10 days (that's good).
Hasselin' the Hoff
Saviour of the Franchise Jeff Hoffman will be making is professional debut with the Dunedin Blue Jays tonight at 6:30 Eastern as they face the Tampa Yankees. In his last rehab start, he threw 68 pitches, touching 99 mph, Shi Davidi reported. Hoffman was the Blue Jays' first-round draft pick last June, dropping to the ninth spot because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Be sure to tune in (for free) to Marshall Kelner's radio broadcast of the game--the audio link can be found here.
Devon Travis still out
Dang. This lineup is just as they drew up in the offseason, no?