Blue Jays choose to move Hutchison to 'pen

Right-hander will likely be used in one-inning situations due to Stroman's return

Blue Jays choose to move Hutchison to 'pen

ATLANTA -- The Blue Jays have decided to remove right-hander Drew Hutchison from the rotation, and instead will go with a starting staff that includes David Price, Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Marco Estrada.

Toronto manager John Gibbons officially announced the move Tuesday afternoon at Turner Field. Hutchison will transition to the bullpen, where he is expected to be used in one-inning stints, but he could pitch more if necessary.

The decision hardly comes as a surprise following the return of Stroman from a torn ACL. When Stroman allowed three runs over five innings in his season debut on Saturday night vs. the Yankees, it seemed to be only a matter of time before Hutchison would be left out of the mix.

Stroman makes season debut

"If we need a spot start here or there, he could still come out and do that. He's built up pretty good," Gibbons said. "But it's pretty obvious that he has had some struggles on the road, and Stroman looked good the other day. We want to keep him rolling."

Hutchison technically would have been in line to start Wednesday night in Atlanta, but instead that outing will go to Price. It's a disappointing turn of events for Hutchison, who began the year as Toronto's Opening Day starter but wasn't able to duplicate the kind of success he experienced in 2014.

One of the main reasons behind the decision is Hutchison's prolonged struggles on the road. Even though Rogers Centre is known as a hitter's ballpark, Hutchison has a 2.91 ERA at home compared to a 9.44 ERA on the road. The splits have been hard to explain all year, and they were the exact opposite last season, but the results never changed.

The road numbers have been a sore spot for Hutchison to talk about with the media, and it's clear that he's as confused about the discrepancy as everybody else.

"It drives me more crazy than you," Hutchison said. "Like I said, it just comes down to executing pitches and when I've done that, even on the road, I've had success, and when I haven't, I haven't. Overall, it's just been weird for that to happen as it did last year, the opposite, for most of the year until the end of the year. As far as that, it just comes down to making pitches."

Even more remarkable than the splits is the fact that Hutchison has a 13-4 record in 27 starts, despite a 5.33 ERA. Toronto's high-powered offense is the main reason behind that, and even though the Blue Jays have been able to win the vast majority of his outings, the club believed it still had to make a move.

Hutchison will now transition to the bullpen for the first time in his career. He'll likely be used in one-inning stints, as the Blue Jays already have several long relievers available because of the expanded September rosters.

"You obviously have to make some adjustments," Hutchison said. "I think for now, it will only be one inning. You just change up your routine, throwing every day and I've talked to a lot of guys who have done both. I haven't done it before, but I don't think it will be too big of a deal."

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.