Toronto Blue Jays

Kyle Drabek Closing in on Toronto Blue Jays' No. 5 Spot

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 13:  Starting pitcher Kyle Drabek #4 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 13, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Bill FordCorrespondent IIIMarch 28, 2012

Toronto Blue Jays right-handed pitcher Kyle Drabek has been fighting against strong competition for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, and he is closing in on achieving that spot.

The Blue Jays have had a difficult decision to make with a few options to fill the role, and Drabek's performance may have made that decision a little easier.

Tuesday night, Drabek pitched against the Yankees and recorded five scoreless innings resulting in a 4-3 win. He gave up five hits, struck out five and walked two improving his Grapefruit League ERA from 4.82 to 3.14.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that he thought Drabek was outstanding. Drabek threw powerful pitches, and when he got behind in some pitch counts he was able utilize his sinker to generate ground balls.

In the past, Drabek has had difficulty keeping his composure when in tight situations. He has managed to work through much of that and has greatly matured as a pitcher.

Drabek's quest for the No. 5 spot may have become a little easier due to the recent diagnosis of pitcher Dustin McGowan's plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Drabek, being the gentleman that he is, wished McGowan well, stating that he hopes that McGowan returns quickly. That's not always a simple thing to do when you're both competing for the same job.

His confidence on the mound appears to have grown. He seems much more relaxed on the mound than he did last season.

Drabek's pitching mechanics appeared to be sound against the Yankees, as well as his ability to remain calm and composed under pressure.

Even if McGowan had not been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, it is likely that Drabek would still be in the same position that he is now. He has put in a tremendous amount of work into his pitching mechanics, and has developed far greater control over his emotions.

Anything could happen, but it would surprise me if Drabek does not win the No. 5 spot.

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