The Toronto Blue Jays made a few moves during Monday’s doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles, activating right-hander Julian Merryweather off the 60-day IL and designated catcher Zack Collins for assignment to make room for Merryweather on the 40-man roster.
Merryweather has been rehabbing all month in the Minor Leagues as he recovered from an abdominal strain, an injury that has kept him off the mound since June 13th.
Over the past month, the California product has been in Triple-A, where he has been absolutely dominating, appearing in eight games and allowing just three hits through 8.2 innings while striking out 11 compared to five walks. Opponents have authored just a .100 batting average with the reliever touching the upper 90s with his fastball.
To make room for Merryweather on the active roster, reliever Casey Lawerence was optioned back to the Minor Leagues while catcher Zack Collins was DFA’d. The Jays used Merryweather in the second game of the Monday doubleheader in the ninth inning, with the reliever giving up a solo home run to Adley Rutschman, while also getting two ground balls and a pop-out on 16 pitches (11 strikes).
Blue Jays DFA Collins
The former White Sox catcher had been shuffled between Triple-A and the MLB squad a few times this season, but with the Jays already boasting Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen, and top prospect Gabriel Moreno, the lefty-batter was likely on the outside looking in. He amassed a .194/.266/.417 slash line through 72 at-bats with the Jays this season, with a .683 OPS.
There is a chance Collins could slip through the waiver wire this far in the season but also wouldn’t be surprised if another club takes a flier on the catcher.
Merryweather is a welcome addition to the club given his added velocity and will hopefully be able to find his early 2021 form, as the right-hander did struggle earlier this year before his IL stint, authoring a 6.38 ERA through 18.1 innings of relief. The home run to Rutschman is a bit concerning but hopefully, he will find a groove once he gets a few more outings under his belt.
While there is a possibility the Jays could option Merryweather back down and bring back Zach Pop to the big league squad, who is currently the 29th man for Monday’s doubleheader, having the soon-to-be 31-year-old healthy and ready to go is a step in the right direction for a squad with postseason aspirations.