The Blue Jays released Alburquerque from his minor-league contract Monday. The 32-year-old was in the midst of a strong campaign with Triple-A Buffalo, posting a 3.77 ERA and 8.5 K/9 through 28.2 innings. A veteran of 264 career appearances in the big leagues, Alburquerque shouldn't have much trouble latching on with another organization on a minor-league pact. Buffalo promoted Craig Breslow -- another reliever with extensive MLB experience -- from Double-A New Hampshire to take Alburquerque's spot on the roster.
Alburquerque was sent to minor-league camp Monday. Alburquerque was fighting for a spot in Toronto's Opening Day bullpen after signing a minor-league deal in January. He had a solid spring, striking out 12 while walking just one in eight innings and recording a 3.38 ERA, but the Blue Jays ended up preferring other options. The 31-year-old has a 3.16 ERA in 245 career major-league innings and could find himself in a lower-leverage role in Toronto or elsewhere at some point later this season.
Alburquerque signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays on Thursday that includes an invitation to spring training, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. Alburquerque began his 2017 season with the Royals, where he tossed 10 innings before his eventual release in July. He then caught on with the White Sox -- he was called up to the majors in September and contributed eight innings. Alburquerque had respectable numbers with the Chicago farm system over a larger sample size, so the right-handed reliever was expected to eventually find work. He'll land in Toronto with his sights set on making the final roster.
The White Sox declined to tender Alburquerque a contract for 2018, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports. Alburquerque allowed just one run on three hits in eight innings with the White Sox as a September callup, and his numbers over a larger body of work at Triple-A were solid as well (2.87 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 43:10 K:BB). It's unlikely that Alburquerque will find his way into a prominent major-league role next season, but he should at least find work.
Alburquerque was called up by the White Sox on Friday. Alburquerque will join the 40-man roster, along with Chris Volstad, prior to Friday's game with the Giants, putting the White Sox at full capacity. After signing a minor-league deal with the club in early August, the right-hander has compiled a 4.91 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over the course of 11 innings for Triple-A Charlotte. Alburquerque figures to be deployed in low-leverage situations out of Chicago's bullpen moving forward.
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