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A Taste of Triple-A

TORONTO–In his brief stay, Dave Gassner gave notice that he plans to return to Triple-A before long.

Summoned to Syracuse when postponements led to back-to-back doubleheaders, Gassner pitched five strong innings, allowing one run and five hits in a 2-1 victory that ended a 10-game losing streak for the SkyChiefs.

Not bad for a lefty who had spent the first several weeks of the season in Double-A New Haven’s bullpen. It wasn’t enough to earn him a longer stay in Syracuse, but it was enough to open some eyes.

Gassner, 24, struck out four, throwing 82 pitches for his longest stint of the season. "Nearly all of them were excellent," Syracuse pitching coach Tom Filer said. "Each one set up the next one. He changed speeds well, he moved the ball in and out (and) he had them reaching for the ball."

When Gassner returned to New Haven, he followed up with another strong start, allowing just three hits and three unearned runs while striking out five in six innings. In 16 innings this season in New Haven, Gassner had struck out 12 and walked only one.

Gassner’s game is to be efficient with his pitches: the four-seam and two-seam fastballs, an excellent changeup that he uses against righthanded hitters on the outside half of the plate, a short slider and a sweeping breaking ball that is effective against lefthanded hitters.

He doesn’t throw hard, but he has an aptitude for pitching. He works both sides of the plate and mixes his pitches well.

Gassner is not as heralded as some other prospects in the system, but he had done well since he came out of Purdue, where he was a first-team all-Big 10 Conference selection. Gassner was 4-4, 3.03 in 13 outings, 11 of them starts, in his first season.

He continued to suceed last year, as he was 11-6, 3.44 for high Class A Dunedin. After being promoted to Double-A, he was 1-2, 2.49 at Tennessee and 0-1, 5.40 in one start with Syracuse last year.

While his start for Syracuse in 2002 didn’t go well, Gassner said he was thrilled to get another chance to prove he can pitch at the Triple-A level.

"It was awesome," Gassner said. "I’ve never been more excited in my life, helping these guys out. They played great defense, and having (Ken) Huckaby behind the plate helped me out. Huckaby and I were mixing it up."

Jays Chatter

• Righthander Doug Linton was sent to Syracuse and lefthanded reliever Jason Kershner was called up to Toronto from Syracuse. To make room for Kershner on the 40-man roster, New Haven righthander Kevin Frederick was designated for assignment and then was assigned outright to New Haven. Frederick was claimed on waivers from the Twins three weeks earlier.

• Outfielder Jayson Werth, who started the season on the disabled list with a wrist injury, was recalled to Toronto from Dunedin. Werth hit .371-4-18 in 62 at-bats in an extended rehab assignment.

• Previous organization report: Jayson Werth

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