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Thursday Blue Jays Bites: Stocking up the Lugnuts for their playoff run?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The single-A Lansing Lugnuts are the only* Blue Jays minor league affiliate to clinch a postseason, which means after September 7 they will be the only team Toronto can send players on an injury rehab assignment. With Marcus Stroman working on returning from his spring training injuries, perhaps the Blue Jays should consider stocking up the Lugnuts with upper-level minor league players to help keep them in the Midwest League playoffs.

Gone from the Lansing team that clinched the first-half championship are the likes of Anthony Alford, Conner Greene, Rowdy Tellez, Shane Dawson, and of course Chase DeJong and Tim Locastro. Right now the Lugnuts are not playing well, having just lost three straight and are 9-13 in August. A good thing is that their first round opponents, the Great Lakes Loons, aren’t doing so hot themselves lately. The first round is a best-of-three and is scheduled to run from September 9 to 11.

According to Alex Anthopoulos (via Shi Davidi), Stroman is scheduled for a 55-pitch simulated game tomorrow (August 28) before pitching in a live game with a 70-pitch limit for the Lugnuts on September 2 and then the Bisons on September 7 on a 85-pitch pitch count. Should he need another appearance against live batters—and having not pitched all season he just might—he would need the Lugnuts to make it in to the second round. From reports, it seems like Devon Travis is much farther away from recovery and even an extended minor league postseason may not matter for him.

I started off half-joking about sending down triple-A and double-A players to fill the Lugnuts’ playoff roster but now I think I am half-serious about it. If the ultimate goal of the organization is to help the major league team win, and giving Marcus Stroman a chance for a few extra outings is the way to do it, then load up those Lugnuts! Plus, it’d be pretty fun to see (the Loons may disagree).

* non-complex and North American-based

Steve Tolleson Semi-Retirement

Alex Anthopoulos told reporters that Steve Tolleson simply told the Blue Jays front office that "he didn't want to play anymore" after his was last designated for assignment on July 1. He passed through waivers and accepted an outright to the Bisons, but has been on the temporarily inactive list since July 7. After spending almost the entire season with Toronto in 2014, Tolleson was DFAed in mid-April before being added back on the roster in mid-May in a series of moves to avoid roster rules that I'd like to call "the Tolleson shuffle". Tolleson caught a bad break in late May after tweaking his groin and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Jays placed him on a long minor league rehab assignment before finally activating then immediately DFAing him in July.

Tolleson already has a second career planned out, having gotten his certificate as an investment advisor.

September Callups

In addition, Anthopoulos announced that the number of September callups will be small, around six to eight players especially "guys in the bullpen that can get us outs." I would expect Steve Delabar, who has been pitching well in Buffalo, and Aaron Loup, a lefty, as locks to be added back to the big league bullpen. Dalton Pompey should be recalled as outfield depth, a reasonable person would expect. Drew Hutchison will likely be recalled on August 29 when the Blue Jays finally will need a fifth starter.

Anthopoulos also mentioned that some scouts could also get a callup in September to give the club additional advanced scouting in preparation for the postseason push.