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The Toronto Blue Jays are promoting Cuban right-hander Yariel Rodriguez to the majors for what will serve as his big-league debut, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet

Rodriguez, 27, signed a five-year pact worth $32 million with Toronto over the offseason. He did not pitch last season. Rather, he sat out the campaign after a prolonged dispute with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League. The short version is that Rodriguez wanted to be freed from his obligation to the Dragons so that he could pursue an MLB career. The Dragons disagreed. They did release him last October, however, freeing him to join the Blue Jays.

When Rodriguez last pitched a full season in 2022, he amassed a 1.15 ERA and a 3.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 56 appearances for the Dragons. He's since made two appearances in Triple-A to begin the season, striking out 10 batters and surrendering one hit and three walks over 6 ⅓ innings of work. As our Mike Axisa noted when Rodriguez signed, he's fared best when pitching out of the bullpen: 

Although he's had his most career success as a reliever, there is some thought Rodriguez can start, and the Blue Jays may give him that opportunity, particularly depending on whether Alek Manoah can rebound from an abysmal 2023 season. Rodriguez served as Cuba's No. 1 starter in the World Baseball Classic, allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings in two starts. He struck out 10. Here he is striking out several current and former big leaguers, including Xander Bogaerts:

Rodriguez's pitch-tracking data in his Triple-A outings saw him lean on a four-seam fastball that averaged 92.7 mph and topped out at 95.9 mph. Said four-seamer often featured cutting action, meaning that it moved toward left-handed batters. He also threw a low-80s slider, an upper-80s splitter, and a mid-70s curveball.