Youngster Drew Hutchinson completes a fast-track ride to the major leagues tonight when he makes his debut for the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
The 21-year-old native of Lakeland, Fla. was a 15th-round pick of the Blue Jays in the 2009 draft and had made three starts at New Hampshire of the Double-A Eastern League - going 2-1 with a 2.16 earned run average - before the Blue Jays purchased his contract.
"I'm real excited and thankful for the opportunity that the organization's given me," he said. "I'm just going to go out there and compete, try to give the team a chance to win and go as deep into the game as I can. Just like any other game. It's a little different, but I think after the first pitch, it'll just be right back to business."
Hutchinson made 15 starts at the Single-A level in 2010, then was 14-5 at Single- and Double-A last season, posting a 2.53 ERA across 149 1/3 innings with 171 strikeouts.
"We like the strike-throwing ability and his overall stuff and the ability to attack both left-handers and right-handers," manager John Farrell said. "We are looking forward to seeing his debut and hopefully a long fruitful career starting for him."
The Blue Jays broke on top of the series in Friday's opener, when Jose Bautista knocked in the go-ahead run in a three-run eighth inning, as the Blue Jays kept the Royals winless at Kauffman Stadium with a 4-3 victory.
Toronto rallied against reliever Greg Holland (0-2) to extend Kansas City's franchise-worst start at home to 0-7. The Royals have dropped eight in a row overall.
J.P. Arencibia went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs for the Blue Jays, who were coming off a 4-5 homestand.
Luis Perez (2-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win behind Kyle Drabek, who allowed four hits and six walks over 5 1/3 innings, but limited the Royals to two runs - one coming on Mike Moustakas' home run.
Kansas City's Luke Hochevar, whose start was pushed back so he could rest a sore ankle, pitched an effective five innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks while fanning five.
The Royals on Saturday go with 28-year-old Mexican Luis Mendoza, who's 0-2 in a pair of starts thus far in 2012.
Mendoza, who was signed by Boston as an undrafted free agent in 2000, was 2-0 in a pair of starts for the Royals in 2011, posting a 1.23 ERA across 14 2/3 innings.
This April, he's allowed 14 hits ad 10 runs in 9 2/3 innings in losses at Oakland and at home to Cleveland.
He's 1-1 in three career outings against the Blue Jays.
Kansas City was 4-3 versus the Jays a year ago.