Delabar optioned by Blue Jays; move shocks reliever

Decision indicates club will use rookies Osuna, Castro in bullpen

Delabar optioned by Blue Jays; move shocks reliever

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- In a surprising move, the Blue Jays optioned right-hander Steve Delabar to Minor League camp on Thursday morning.

Delabar admitted he was shocked by the news and said he was expecting to be with the club on Opening Day. Instead, he'll likely begin the year with Triple-A Buffalo.

When Spring Training officially opened last month, Delabar seemed like a lock to make the 25-man roster. There was some occasional hard contact this spring, but he also struck out seven while allowing two runs over six innings and seemed well on his way to filling a hole in middle relief.

"I thought I was going to be a big part of this 'pen to start, and it's a shock to me this morning," Delabar told a group of reporters on Thursday. "I was supposed to throw again today after throwing yesterday, preparing myself for the season and being a big part of this bullpen. ... I'm not happy with the move, neither should I because I've had a pretty good spring so far."

The move seems to indicate that the Blue Jays are intent on moving forward with rookies Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro in the bullpen. Delabar didn't receive a long explanation about his demotion other than being told "some other guys had stepped up," and he assumed it was in reference to the younger pitchers.

Delabar met with the media approximately 90 minutes after his meeting with manager John Gibbons and general manager Alex Anthopoulos. As always, Delabar was respectful and courteous, but it was also clear that he was angry and had a few things he wanted to get off his chest.

This is the second consecutive year that Delabar has dealt with the disappointment of being sent to the Minors. He felt adjustments had been made since last seaosn, and the fact that he was 100 percent healthy this spring had been leading to better results with velocity and location. In the end, it wasn't enough in the club's eyes.

"I haven't thought of that," Delabar said when asked by a reporter if he thought a fresh start somewhere else might be beneficial. "It could be considered. I'm not saying that's what I'm asking for or anything like that. But if that was to happen, I feel like I'm a Major League player, and I can help a bullpen. I thought I would be in this bullpen, helping this Major League team. It would be a possibility if that's the case."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.