An injury quickly derailed Aaron Loup's season early in 2016: He hit the disabled list on Opening Day with soreness in his throwing elbow and experienced a setback soon after his recovery began. Once healthy, the 29-year-old notched 26 strikeouts over (20 appearances) while managing a 1.83 ERA at Triple-A Buffalo. While there, he issued just three walks and limited lefties to a .188 average. Unfortunately for Loup, that success didn't translate to his subsequent 21 appearances in the majors. However, he has been successful at the MLB level (3.24 ERA with 191 strikeouts over 225.1 big league innings). With Brett Cecil headed to free agency, Loup could be in for a career-high workload in 2017.
Loup failed to record an out while allowing three runs on two hits and two walks in Monday's exhibition contest against Minnesota. The left-hander had run off a string of four scoreless -- and ultra-efficient -- outings before Monday's implosion. Loup's disaster couldn't have come at a worse time. He's among a handful of relievers fighting for one of the team's final bullpen vacancies. Coming off an injury-plagued campaign, Loup may need to log extra innings at the minor-league level before he's ready to contribute for the Jays.
Loup says he "feels great" and is fully-recovered from the elbow injury that plagued his 2016 campagin, John Lott reports. Last season, Loup dealt with the first serious injury of his career, a flexor strain in his elbow that caused him to begin the year on the disabled list. The side-winding lefty now admits now he came back several weeks too soon which led to another setback. "At first, we didn't think it was that bad, but it ended up being worse than we thought," he said. "It took me longer to come back, and then when I actually got back, I probably still wasn't completely ready to be back." When the Blue Jays open their Grapefruit League schedule on Saturday, a fierce battle for two bullpen spots will begin, and Loup will be among a group of eight pitcher in the mix.
Loup is the early favorite to take over the left-handed setup role left vacant by the recently-departed Brett Cecil, MLB.com reports. The biggest area for concern in this bullpen is the lack of a bona fide lefty reliever. Loup used to be one of those guys, but he is coming off a pair of disappointing seasons, and he'll really need to show things have changed before expectations can be raised. With Cecil gone, Loup has the most big league experience of the potential replacements, but he will also receive competition from Matt Dermody, Chad Girodo and Brett Oberholtzer. More additions likely will have to be made here, but until that happens, Loup should be in for a heavy workload. The walks will have to come down if he's going to cement that position, because a the 5.02 ERA he posted in 2016 simply won't cut it in this role.
Loup is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports. Although he's thrown just 19.2 innings across 20 games with Triple-A Buffalo, Loup has had an impressive year. He owns a 1.83 ERA and 1.22 WHIP at the Triple-A level and has walked only three batters. Unfortunately, he hasn't had as much luck with the big club, where he has an ERA and WHIP of 7.45 and 1.34, respectively.
The Blue Jays recalled Loup from Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday. Loup will take the roster spot of Aaron Sanchez, who will head to the minors before making his next big-league start in 10 days. Loup will work primarily as a left-handed specialist for the Blue Jays, though he could pitch an inning here or there if needed.