MINNEAPOLIS – A month after his return to the Major Leagues, Blue Jays reliever Chad Green has provided another quality arm to a Toronto bullpen loaded with talent.
His return after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year has given Toronto manager John Schneider a right that can be used in a variety of situations.
“From a veteran’s standpoint, obviously being in this division his entire career and pitching in big, influential spots, (it’s) just his presence,” Schneider said. “I love the way he throws the ball.
“Between his experience and his stuff, he’s been a tremendous addition for us.”
Green was used primarily as a reliever for seven seasons with New York before injuring his elbow early in the 2022 season.
He signed a two-year contract with Toronto before the start of the 2023 season.
Green was able to develop at Class A Dunedin and Triple-A Buffalo over the summer before making his debut with the Blue Jays on September 1.
“The power is there, the slider depth is there, the command is there,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said Monday. “He’s been a really nice addition with an incredible set of experiences and a great reputation.”
Green, 32, settled into major league action within the first few weeks and has allowed just one earned run in his last six appearances.
“You can put it anywhere,” Schneider said in a recent interview. “He is ready for anything and he has done it throughout his career.
“So whenever the situation requires Mr. Green’s services, we will turn to him.”
Toronto spent most of the stretch hanging around the playoff cut line before finally clinching a spot last Saturday. The Blue Jays were scheduled to open the best-of-three wild-card series Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Green said his elbow “feels great” and he’s “pretty happy” with his situation.
“When you’re going through the rehab process, you have a lot of time to think about what things will be like when you get back,” Green said. “This is exactly what I thought it would be.”
The AL Central champion Twins will host all games against the sixth-seeded Blue Jays. The winner of the series will play the West champions, the Houston Astros, in the American League Division Series.
Green capped the regular season with a 3-0 record, a 5.25 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.
During his time with New York, he went 33-22 with a 3.17 ERA and 11 saves in 272 appearances.
“A guy who takes the ball and wants the ball,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Super responsible. He may have been quietly one of the best relievers, in a non-closer (role), in the game for the last half-decade before finally last year he had to have Tommy John.”
Recovery from elbow ligament surgery usually takes 12 to 18 months.
“It was something that I remember being incredibly emotional just because of the respect I have for the person and the consistency with which he has performed over the years,” Boone recalled.
Being trending now
“Obviously (he has) a really good fastball which has always been his calling card throughout his career. But he is a great professional, a great person and someone we miss here.”
Toronto’s bullpen is backed by closer Jordan Romano of Markham, Ont., and Jordan Hicks.
Green has provided more depth to a relief team that also includes Tim Mayza, Erik Swanson, Génesis Cabrera, Yimi García and Trevor Richards.
The Blue Jays led the American League with 51 saves and were fifth with a 3.68 bullpen ERA.
“I think what makes a good bullpen is that you can throw a lot of different things at people,” Green said. “I think that’s exactly what we have. We have left-handers who throw hard, a left-handed pitcher. We have righties that can run there in the upper 90s.
“We can throw a lot of different looks at people.”
Kevin Gausman was scheduled to start Game 1 for Toronto. José Berrios will start Game 2 and, if necessary, Chris Bassitt will likely get the nod to pitch in Game 3.
In the playoffs, especially in a short best-of-three series, each relief inning will have a high-leverage feel.
“(We have) guys who don’t have egos,” Green said. “Guys being willing to pitch in any situation, I think that helps too because I think it can put handcuffs on some teams when guys aren’t willing to pitch.
“So having a group of guys willing to pitch whenever, I think it helps a lot.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2023.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on X.
© 2023 The Canadian Press