Blue Jays Won't Rush Kyle Drabek To The Majors

TORONTO — Now that they have Kyle Drabek, the Blue Jays intend to bring him along judiciously.

As the key cog in the deal that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies in December, Drabek immediately became the No. 1 prospect in his new organization.
What the Blue Jays see in spring training will determine whether Drabek will open the season at Double-A or Triple-A.

"Our philosophy in general is going to be that we're going to slow things down," assistant general manager Tony LaCava said. "But that being said we're going to be open-minded. He'll be at major league camp. We'll watch him closely there. And it'll be good for us to see him up close and personally. We scouted him thoroughly but there's something to be said for having a guy in your system and getting to know him and getting to really see the whole person."

The first-round draft pick in 2006 out of a Texas high school, Drabek missed most of the 2008 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, going 1-3, 2.23 in eight starts split between the rookie Gulf Coast League and short-season Williamsport.

The righthander opened 2009 at high Class A Clearwater, going 4-1, 2.48 over 62 innings before being promoted to Double-A Reading where he continued to shine, going 8-2, 3.64 in 96 innings of work. He is athletic and fields his position well but the Blue Jays like something else about him. He seems to have inherited the attitude of his father, former major league pitcher Doug Drabek.

"He's an intense, fiery competitor," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "That's something that you really need, a tremendous will to win. I think that's one of those things that allows you to get to the front of a rotation. All these guys have tremendous ability, but being a real competitor is something that I think is going to separate Kyle Drabek from the pack."


• Righthander Shawn Hill was signed to a minor league deal with an invitation major league spring training. Hill, 28, made three April starts for San Diego in 2009, going 1-1, 5.25, before undergoing Tommy John surgery in June. Hill has pitched for the Expos, Nationals and Padres since 2004.

• Minor league free agents lefthander William Collazo, outfielders Jorge Padilla and Chris Lubanski and infielder Jesus Merchan were signed with invitations to major league spring training. Outfielder Jeremy Reed and righthander Steve Register were signed to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.