Blue Jays-Royals Preview

Already boasting one of the youngest rotations in the majors,

the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to get even more youthful

Saturday night.

Drew Hutchison is slated to make his major league debut against

the struggling Kansas City Royals, who have lost eight in a row and

are off to their worst start at home in franchise history.

The oldest members of Toronto’s starting staff are 27-year-olds

Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero. Kyle Drabek is 24, and Henderson

Alvarez is 22.

Hutchison will become the youngest member of the rotation when

he takes the mound Saturday.

“I’m real excited and thankful for the opportunity that the

organization’s given me,” he told the team’s website. “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.”

The 21-year-old right-hander has started six games at Double-A

New Hampshire, including three this year, but made an impressive

rise through the Blue Jays system in 2011. He was 14-5 with a 2.53

ERA at three levels and struck out 171 over 149 1-3 innings while

walking 35.

Hutchison was 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA in the minors before Toronto

(7-6) purchased his contract Thursday.

“We like the strike-throwing ability and his overall stuff and

the ability to attack both left-handers and right-handers,” manager

John Farrell told the team’s website. “We are looking forward to

seeing his debut and hopefully a long fruitful career starting for

him on Saturday.”

Hutchison’s debut will come against a Royals team that’s on its

longest losing streak since dropping 10 in a row from July 10-24,

2009, with its past seven losses during its opening homestand of

the season.

Kansas City (3-10) has scored a combined nine runs over the last

four games and gave up three in the eighth inning of a 4-3 loss in

Friday’s series opener.

J.P. Arencibia had two hits for Toronto and drove in a pair of

runs, including the tying one. Jose Bautista singled in the

go-ahead one, and the Blue Jays turned their first triple play

since Sept. 21, 1979, on Eric Hosmer’s line drive in the third

inning.

“That’s kind of the way things are going for us right now,”

Hosmer said. “It’s been that way the last couple of weeks. It was a

big situation, first and second. It was one tough break. It’s the

first in my lifetime. He threw a fastball in. I saw it good and put

a good swing on it. It’s obviously not the result we wanted.”

Arencibia is 4 for 7 over his last two games after going 2 for

32 (.063) to start this season.

If he starts again Saturday, the Toronto catcher will try to

keep things rolling against Royals starter Luis Mendoza (0-2,

5.59), who is coming off one of the worst outings of his career.

The right-hander was tagged for a personal-high nine runs over four

innings during a 13-7 loss to Cleveland on Sunday after yielding

one run over 5 2-3 innings in his season debut, a 1-0 loss in

Oakland on April 9.

Mendoza is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts against

Toronto, with his most recent one Aug. 3, 2008, while with

Texas.