J.A. Happ made his second rehab start, and first for the AAA Buffalo Bisons today in Buffalo at Coca-Cola Field against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Happ pitched 4 2/3 innings giving up just 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6–in the Bisons’ 7-4 loss. Throwing 63 of his 90 pitches for strikes. The lone run given up by Happ came on a home run in the 4th to Brandon Snyder.
Quotes from Happ courtesy of the Buffalo Bisons’ article by Joe Sarro, has him saying that he feels like he’s ready to start facing major league hitters.
“I was definitely trying to get ahead and stay ahead [of batters],” said Happ. “I felt good. I felt strong.”
“I think the whole goal was to get up to the amount of pitches I need and to feel healthy doing it and I feel like that’s where I was at tonight,” Happ said. “For me, I feel like I am ready to take it to the next step and try to go and get big league hitters out.”
Happ, originally penciled in as the Blue Jays 4th starting coming into Spring Training, only made 4 starts during the spring–battling a back injury throughout the time. His back bothered him enough to a point where he wasn’t affected during spring, where he pitched just 7 innings and gave up a total of 16 runs on 21 hits. Happ began the season on the 15-day DL.
This was Happ’s 2nd rehab start, his first was in Florida for the Dunedin Blue Jays–he went 5 innings and gave up 2 earned runs on 3 hits, striking out 5.
J.A. Happ looks to be the first starting pitcher to be called back up if any of the current Toronto Blue Jays starters falter consistently, and ruled out a possible bullpen stint with the big club.
“I haven’t prepared to be in the bullpen. I’ve prepared to be a starter,” Happ said. “I think the plan was to get healthy and hopefully things can take care of themselves. I definitely feel ready to go to the next level.”
Happ made 18 starts last season for the Blue Jays, pitching to a 5-7 record, 4.56 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 1.71 K/BB ratio.