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Blue Jays select Mike Bolsinger, send out Glenn Sparkman

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Chris Rowley tapped for the spot start in Buffalo

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Atlanta Braves
Chris Rowley throws in spring training.
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Bolsinger returns to the Blue Jays for a second time this season after having his contract selected from triple-A Buffalo. Rule 5 draftee Glenn Sparkman, who cannot be optioned this season without being offered back to the Royals, was designated for assignment to make room for Bolsinger.

Sparkman, 25, spent the first half of the season on the disabled list after breaking his thumb in spring training. After rehabbing in Dunedin and Buffalo he was activated in late June and made two appearances for the Blue Jays. In his last game for Toronto, he threw 33 pitches on Sunday and gave up seven runs on seven hits, recording just one out.

Three other Blue Jays pitchers have given up seven or more runs in a game where they pitched just 0.1 innings: Matt Boyd (2015), Joey Hamilton (1999), and Balor Moore (1979).

The Blue Jays now have seven days to try to find a trade partner for Sparkman or offer him back to Kansas City for $25,000 in return.

The right-handed Bolsinger was acquired from the Dodgers last August for Jesse Chavez and had already been designated for assignment twice this season, clearing outright waivers both times. He made five starts for the Jays in May, recording a 5.61 ERA and walking 19 through 25.2 innings.

Having been mostly a starter for the Bisons, Bolsinger can give the Blue Jays bullpen some length.

Another move will have to be made tomorrow when the newly-acquired Miguel Montero, who is travelling from the west coast, is activated. For tonight, Luke Maile will be making the start in New York.

Bolsinger was scheduled to start for Buffalo tonight. In his place, former West Point graduate Chris Rowley will be making a spot start on Independence Day Eve in Buffalo before the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra serenades the crowd with American standards before a big fireworks show.

Rowley is a 26-year-old right hander from Georgia who was signed as a non-drafted free agent after the 2013 draft. He was able to put on a Blue Jays jersey for nine games in the Gulf Coast League before he exchanged it for a U.S. Army uniform for a two-year deployment in Bulgaria and Romania.

I had a chance to speak briefly with Rowley on Sunday in Buffalo, who recalled the way he tried to keep in game shape while deployed.

“Whenever I had down time I was able to throw. Never off the mound, but our company’s senior medic played baseball so he could play catch with me. But for the most part, I was focused on the Army, because that was my job. It was my profession.”

He has no regrets with his decision to go to West Point, and even though that meant he had to skip two years of professional baseball, he still made it to triple-A four years after his signing.

“As far as being here [in triple-A] I think it would be unrealistic to have thought that I would’ve moved any quicker had I stayed and not gone for two years. But you never know; if hadn’t left for those two years I could’ve never made it out of A-ball.”

The two years off baseball in Europe weren’t a waste for his development, though.

“It gave me a sense of professionalism and accountability that I didn’t have before. And many, many lessons I learned from many, many good mentors and leaders as well as some bad leaders along the way,” Rowley said, “I definitely wouldn’t have been the same person. [The experience] gave me an advantage over what I would’ve been without it.”

Talk about a unique path for a minor leaguer to reach triple-A.