Gibbons to reward Norris with first big league start

Gibbons to reward Norris with first big league start

TORONTO -- Left-hander Daniel Norris will make the first start of his Major League career in Thursday afternoon's series finale vs. the Mariners.

Norris will fill the spot of right-hander Marcus Stroman, who is currently serving a five-game suspension for throwing near the head area of Baltimore's Caleb Joseph.

The 21-year-old Norris will be limited to two or three innings, but the outing is still a reward for a fine season that saw the native of Tennessee establish himself as one of the club's top prospects.

"He's a young kid that had a good year in the Minor Leagues," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We really like him, get him the feel of a start and let him prepare that way."

Norris began the year at Class A Dunedin, but he eventually received promotions to Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. He posted a 2.53 ERA in 26 games between the three levels, and along the way earned a spot at the 2014 Futures Game during Major League Baseball's All-Star break.

Toronto used Norris out of the bullpen four times since he was called up on Sept. 2, but he hasn't started since late August. That means his endurance isn't what it was earlier in the year, so the club will take a cautious approach and limit him to a few innings. Todd Redmond, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman will be available to pitch in long relief.

Stroman won't make another start this season and instead will move to the bullpen when his suspension comes to an end on Friday. Right-hander Drew Hutchison will start on normal rest Friday night against Baltimore and will be followed by left-hander J.A. Happ and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

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.