Bolsinger outing leaves rotation question mark

Bolsinger outing leaves rotation question mark

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have been trending in the right direction when it comes to their roster makeup and record, but after Monday's 10-6 loss to the Braves, the final spot in Toronto's rotation remains a question mark.

Mike Bolsinger made his second start of the season, allowing five earned runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings while also hitting three batters. Bolsinger is typically known for his control and strong curveball, but both escaped him at times Monday as he looked to stake his claim on a regular starting job.

Injuries to Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, and Francisco Liriano have sent Toronto scrambling for rotation reinforcements early in 2017 after needing just seven starters all of last season. Sanchez returned Sunday, and right-hander Joe Biagini has enjoyed some early success in Happ's spot, but Bolsinger will need to do more to remain part of the solution.

"Just unacceptable," Bolsinger said of his performance after the game. "The team's playing so good and hitting the ball so well. We've been on a hot streak, and I feel like I kind of put that to an end."

Liriano is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but the Blue Jays need another starter for Saturday's game against the Orioles. Bolsinger likely remains the favorite to hang on to that spot, thanks in large part to his first start; he limited the Indians to two runs over 5 2/3 innings. But there are a couple of other names to keep an eye on as well.

Bolsinger's season debut

Lefty T.J. House is coming off a tough outing in his last start for Triple-A Buffalo but owns a 4-2 record with a 2.38 ERA over six starts. He is currently scheduled to pitch for the Bisons on Wednesday, so an abbreviated start would be required if he were to circle back on Saturday.

Mat Latos started three games for Toronto earlier this season, posting a 6.60 ERA before returning to Triple-A. Veteran right-hander Cesar Valdez, claimed on May 5 from the A's, could also earn consideration after throwing five shutout innings in his Buffalo debut. Valdez is scheduled to pitch Tuesday and is the only one of the three currently on Toronto's 40-man roster.

If Bolsinger sticks, a key to his bounce-back will be re-establishing the curveball that has been his most-used pitch in both outings. Manager John Gibbons saw flashes of the pitch Monday, but often it was flattening out and finishing too high in the zone.

"If you don't have it, you're kind of naked out there," Gibbons added.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.