Igarashi tries to prove himself in Major Leagues

Igarashi tries to prove himself in Major Leagues

Igarashi tries to prove himself in Major Leagues
ARLINGTON -- One of the most dominating relievers in the Minor Leagues over the past couple of seasons now has another chance to make an impact at the big league level.

The Blue Jays promoted Japanese right-hander Ryota Igarashi on Friday morning to replace left-hander Evan Crawford, who was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Igarashi posted staggering numbers with the 51s this season and was just as impressive last year in Triple-A, but that success hasn't translated to the next level.

"He's obviously thrown a lot of strikes," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "He has had a lot of power to his fastball. His curveball, we have come to find out through the first six, seven weeks of the season, has been better than what our scouting reports had.

"Last year while with the Mets, he was mostly fastball, split, and he has gone more to a cutter and a power curveball. He obviously dominated the Triple-A level and the fact that we're looking for an additional power arm with strikeout capability in our bullpen. He was kind of a natural fit and a guy that we feel good abut bringing up here."

Igarashi posted a sparking 1.29 ERA in 21 innings while striking out 28 and walking just three this year in Las Vegas. The numbers compare favorably to last season in the Mets' system, where he had a 0.87 ERA in 31 innings out of the bullpen.

But the overpowering stuff didn't hold up as well in the Majors. He was 5-2 with a 5.74 ERA in 69 career innings with the Mets, but he said the addition of a cutter and curveball to his repertoire have made him a completely different pitcher this season.

"When I was with the Mets, I was primarily a fastball and split pitcher, but at the end of last year, I changed my approach and started to throw a cutter," Igarashi said through an interpreter. "Then from this year, I started throwing a curveball and those both have worked really well."

The 32-year-old, who was acquired from the Pirates during Spring Training for cash considerations, has the ability to throw multiple innings, but the club would like to limit him to one per game.