Blue Jays call up knuckleball-catching Thole

Blue Jays call up knuckleball-catching Thole

ANAHEIM -- The Blue Jays optioned infielder Matt Hague to Triple-A Buffalo following Saturday night's 15-3 victory over the Angels and recalled catcher Josh Thole from the Minor Leagues.

Hague's stint in Toronto was a brief one, as he was primarily promoted for a two-game Interleague series against the Phillies earlier this week. His lone appearance didn't occur until Saturday night, when he struck out in the ninth inning after pinch-hitting for Edwin Encarnacion.

Thole is expected to at least temporarily become knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's personal catcher as the Blue Jays attempt to ease the workload of veteran backstop Russell Martin. Thole spent each of the last two seasons catching Dickey after previously pairing up from 2010-12 with the Mets.

Martin has been dealing with a sore left hamstring that has left him hobbled on the basepaths in recent weeks. The club has said he doesn't require a stint on the disabled list, but there will an effort to ease his level of stress behind the plate.

In addition to Martin and Thole, the Blue Jays also have Dioner Navarro on the active roster. Navarro has been catching right-hander Marco Estrada for most of the season, so it's possible Martin will initially catch three starters while receiving some occasional at-bats at designated hitter.

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