TORONTO - Blue Jays reliever Sergio Santos hasn't exactly had an ideal season. But as he sees it, it's been a humbling one.
Toronto purchased the right-hander's contract from triple-A Buffalo on Saturday, optioning fellow reliever Kyle Drabek on Sunday to make room on the roster for Santos four weeks after he was designated for assignment and passed through waivers unclaimed.
Now that he's back with the major league club, the 31-year-old says he appreciates the time he spent in Buffalo.
"It was extremely humbling. You take things for granted because it's so nice up here," Santos said prior to the Blue Jays game versus the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre.
"The way I look at it, it was a four-week refresher. Now I'm back and hopefully I can get on a run here."
Santos, who also spent time on the disabled list earlier in the season with elbow and forearm soreness, struggled through 19 2-3 innings at the big league level, going 0-2 with a 7.78 earned-run average and a 2.085 WHIP.
With the Bisons, Santos pitched 10 2-3 innings of relief, giving up just three hits and one unearned run while striking out 16 and walking six batters.
Primarily known for his fastball and slider, Santos said he spent time working on his change-up in Buffalo — a pitch he threw only 10.2 per cent of the time this year, and 8.9 per cent in total through his five major league seasons.
More generally though, Santos said he worked on "everything."
"I think a lot of it had to so with just consistently throwing, having outings pretty much every other day and getting in a rhythm," he said. "Pitching is so based on that, you get some momentum and you build off it. I was just fortunate to throw the ball well down there."
"I was hoping (to get called up), but all I could control was how I was throwing and I knew that the better I threw, the more pressure I could kind of put on the team as far as coming back up," he added. "I tried not to worry about it and tried to focus on throwing."
Drabek, who was recalled from triple-A on Aug. 16, hugged teammates in the clubhouse Sunday morning before leaving with his Buffalo Bisons bag draped over his shoulder. Drabek worked just three scoreless innings for the Blue Jays in 2014, striking out five, walking two and giving up two hits.
Santos said he hadn't yet discussed with manager John Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker what his role with the big league club would be this time around.
But he did say he was OK with working his way back up the bullpen's pecking order.
"I know that if I throw the ball well and keep throwing the ball well there will be a role for me somewhere," Santos said.
Prior to his demotion this year, Santos hadn't pitched a non-rehab related game at the triple-A level since 2009.
While he shook hands and doled out hugs to smiling teammates as they strolled into the clubhouse, Santos seemed at peace with his up-and-down year.
"It's been a whirlwind," he said. "It's been a fun experience, a humbling experience, you name it. That's the way baseball is. I learned that early on — anything can happen in this game and pretty much everything has happened to me.
"You just take it in stride and you go day by day."
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