MONTREAL — Sam Gaviglio appears to have kicked a leg up on his competition for a temporary, at least, starting job in the Blue Jays rotation.
The 28-year-old right-hander looked good in pitching the first two innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night at Olympic Stadium.
Against a solid Brewers lineup, Gaviglio gave up a pair of hits and an unearned run while striking out four.
With Sean Reid-Foley headed to Buffalo, starting Game 5 for the Jays next Monday against the Baltimore Orioles will be either Gavilgio, Trent Thornton or Thomas Pannone, who will face the Brewers in Toronto’s final tuneup game on Tuesday.
While Thornton is still firmly in the mix, Charlie Montoyo was anxious to see both Gaviglio and Pannone perform in Montreal, in a big league atmosphere with a spot start in place of Ryan Borucki on the line.
“That’s what’s going to happen during the year, you’re going to have pressure when you pitch,” Montoyo said. “Competition gets people better.”
Also trying to lock up a job in the bullpen on Monday were Jason Adam and 19-year-old Rule 5 pickup Elvis Luciano.
Adam, who had been coming on strong, surrendered three earned runs and four hits in one inning.
Luciano was facing the sturdy three of Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich and Jesus Aguilar. He hit Cain, who went on to steal second, but then struck out Yelich and induced Aguilar to fly out.
If the Jays don’t keep the talented teenager on their 25-man roster, they have to offer him back to the Kansas City Royals for $50,000 — half of what they paid to pick him up.
“He’s going to get a chance today,” Montoyo said before the game. “It also depends on if we go with eighth or seven pitchers (in the pen). I’m going to say if we go with eight he’s got a better chance. With seven it will be a little tougher. We’ll see.”