As a reliever with minor league options on the fringes of the big league bullpen, righthander Danny Barnes understands he can expect a season of shuttling back and forth between Triple-A Buffalo and Toronto.
The 27-year-old also realizes the frequent up and downs can have a detrimental effect on his continued growth, which is something he has planned for.
“I’m not trying to develop anything pitching-wise, (but) more routine-wise, because this is different than anything I’ve done in the past,” Barnes said during a one-game pop-in with the Blue Jays as the 26th man for a doubleheader.
“To me, it’s more about being consistent. I’m trying to perfect a routine, so if I have to be somewhere, I can get myself ready to play that day, because you never know. Am I getting called up today, (then) going back the next day?”
Each time up, the Princeton product continues to earn more trust, a process that started last year when the 35th-round pick in 2010 forced his way to the majors by recording an 0.73 ERA, 0.47 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 61.1 innings over 41 games at Double-A New Hampshire and Buffalo.
Barnes made his big league debut on Aug. 2 against the Astros but was soon optioned to Buffalo, not to return until September. He pitched in 12 big league games, recording a 3.95 ERA in 13.2 innings with 14 strikeouts and five walks
The key to Barnes’ success was what coaches describe as an “invisible” fastball that hitters have trouble picking up. He also throws a changeup and slider.
Barnes made four scoreless appearances for the Blue Jays in April. At Buffalo he worked relief outings both long and short.
“Physically, I feel great. Mentally, I feel good, too,” Barnes said. “It’s always fun to have your dream come true.”
— Shi Davidi covers the Blue Jays for Sportsnet