TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are in the process of trying to remedy Henderson Alvarez's recent inability to avoid the long ball.
Alvarez has surrendered at least one home run in all but two of his 13 starts this season. That's a high number for any pitcher, but especially for one whose best pitch is a sinker and who heavily relies on getting ground-ball outs to be effective.
Some of those home runs have come off the sinking fastball, which hasn't had the typical downward movement the Blue Jays became accustomed to seeing last season and during the first month of 2012.
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
"Little bit of overthrowing," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We've seen in games where he comes out very strong in the first inning, where you see the velocity in the mid-to-upper 90s, he'll throw right through his sink.
"But then, when he attempts to overthrow a fastball in key spots, the front side will fly open and the ball ends up moving laterally rather than north and south."
The Blue Jays are considering making an adjustment to where Alvarez sets up on the mound. Alvarez currently positions himself on the first-base side of the rubber, but the club is contemplating a switch to the other side in order to change the angle to the strike zone and create the need for more extension on his pitches.
Alvarez has lost four consecutive decisions and hasn't earned a victory since May 10 at Minnesota. The native of Venezuela also has surrendered at least four runs in four of his past five starts, but despite the recent woes, Alvarez still possesses a respectable 3.87 ERA in 63 2/3 innings.
"I can't say that he's lost total control of games, because in the big picture, he's on pace to throw 200 innings, with a sub-4.00 ERA, and not bad," Farrell said. "But the thing that we're seeing is the home runs that are much different than a year ago, and the strikeout totals have come down from where they were a year ago.
"Part of that is he's more known in the league. Anytime that greater amount of information is available, you have to be that much more consistent with your execution. He's a [darn] good pitcher, and we've got to get it back on track to be a little bit more consistent with the location."
Cecil making strong bid for callup in Triple-A
TORONTO -- Left-hander Brett Cecil made his case for a promotion to the big leagues with a quality start in his first outing for Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday night.
Cecil surrendered three runs on 11 hits, while striking out six and not walking a batter over 6 2/3 innings. His fastball only registered in the 86-88 mph range, but Blue Jays manager John Farrell was pleased with the scouting report he received after the game.
"He gave up a high number of hits, he benefited from some good defense behind him, but seemingly he carried his stuff through six innings, started to falter a little bit in the seventh," Farrell said. "But coming on the heels of a long travel day, he came out and threw the ball very good.
"His breaking stuff had much tighter action to it. So he pitched well last night."
Cecil was expected to begin the season as Toronto's No. 3 starter, but he lost his job late in camp following a series of subpar outings in Spring Training. Cecil opened the year in Double-A, where he proceeded to post a 3.38 ERA in 42 2/3 innings before heading to the Pacific Coast League.
The 25-year-old is in the mix of pitchers being considered to fill the void in Toronto's starting rotation following an injury to Brandon Morrow. Triple-A right-hander Jesse Chavez appears to be the early favorite for the job, but a decision isn't expected until later this week.
"What we'll likely do, the starter to come up likely will pitch on Monday," said Farrell, whose team has an off-day on Thursday. "That way it does provide an extra day for Kyle [Drabek], and it just allows us to take advantage of the off-day for everyone in the rotation."
Gomes back in Toronto with Morrow on DL
TORONTO -- Right-hander Brandon Morrow was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday morning to clear room on the roster for utility man Yan Gomes.
The Blue Jays previously announced Morrow was headed to the DL because of a left oblique strain, and there is currently no timetable for his return to the mound.
Gomes is back in the big leagues just two days after being optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. He provides the club with some additional versatility off the bench, as he is capable of playing first, third, left field and behind the plate.
The native of Brazil entered play on Wednesday hitting .226, with three home runs and eight RBIs in 14 games this year.