Drabek Should Be In Jays Rotation

TORONTO — Kyle Drabek was a big story early last spring training as one of the three players obtained from the Phillies for Roy Halladay in December.

The son of 1990 National League Cy Young winner Doug Drabek figures to be one of the a big stories this spring as well. 

During the offseason the Blue Jays have said there are only three guaranteed spots in the rotation, with Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Brett Cecil owning the first three. But Drabek is clearly a front-runner for one of the other two spots.

At Double-A New Hampshire in 2010, Drabek went 14-9, 2.94, with a no-hitter in the regular season, and he was the Eastern League pitcher of the year.

His major league stint was just 17 innings, and the Blue Jays hope it sets him up for 2011.

"I tried to learn as much as I could so I could take it into next year," he said. "The way you handle yourself on the mound is a big part of the game. You have to be able to stay calm out there to help yourself throughout the game."

"He made tremendous strides," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "When we got him, his fastball was a little straight, and now he has more life on it. He's even better than we thought he would be."

Drabek has the stuff to pitch at the front of a rotation. At this stage, just being in the rotation will be just fine for now. Drabek, like the organization he joined last season, is still a work in progress.

But the future looks good.


• Lefthander Marc Rzepczynski and righthanders Jesse Litsch and Zach Stewart were the leading candidates for the fith spot in the rotation as spring training opened.

• Lefthander Rommie Lewis was assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas after being designated for assignment. The Jays needed to make room on the 40-man after trading Vernon Wells to the Angels for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli, who was flipped to the Rangers for righthander Frank Francisco.