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Anthopoulos: Norris may get start for Blue Jays in stretch before all-star game

07/01/2015 12:36 EDT | Updated 07/01/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Opportunity may be knocking for Daniel Norris.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos spoke with media on Wednesday afternoon about the rookie pitcher getting a spot start in Toronto's rotation in the next two weeks.

"We're not set on this, but you guys know we always look for spot starts if we can," said Anthopoulos, gesturing to a wall calendar in manager John Gibbons's office. "We've got this stretch here, we don't have a day off until the all-star break, so there's an opportunity that we could have a spot start.

"We haven't made a decision, but we always look for that if we can."

Toronto plays 12 straight games starting with an afternoon matinee on Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox heading to the all-star break on July 13. The Blue Jays had five straight leading in to the game against Boston, making for a 17-day stretch.

The 22-year-old Norris began the season in Toronto's starting rotation but was optioned to triple-A Buffalo on May 1 after five starts. He had a 1-1 record with 18 strikeouts and a 3.86 earned-run average in that span.

Norris is 1-7 with the minor league Bisons with a 3.72 ERA and 60 Ks in 10 starts.

Anthopoulos was preparing to drive down to watch Norris start in Buffalo on Wednesday evening, following up on reports from triple-A that the young left-hander is improving.

"I think when Norris is right you see the strikeout totals be big," said Anthopoulos. "When he first went down the strikeout totals were good, but the last few the strikeout totals were really starting to climb. Even the last game, I think the line was five innings, four runs, nine strikeouts but they say he pitched a lot better than his line.

"I think it's a big start for him in the sense that you put together three in a row, you're really starting to throw well, he'll put himself right back in the mix."

Anthopoulos pinned Norris's struggles early in the minor league season on the disappointment of being optioned to Buffalo.

"I think like any young player they go down the first time and they're in shock," said Anthopoulos. "Then you start telling them that guys like (NL Cy Young winner) Clayton Kershaw have been optioned. If you even get to three years of service over 80 per cent of guys are going to be optioned. It's totally normal.

"Everyone needs to go through it at times. Very few guys come up and stay."

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