Morrow eyes role change with Blue Jays
Former Mariners closer would become full-time starter in Toronto
Brandon Morrow, the newest Blue Jay, is looking forward to settling down in one place after spending Tuesday in Florida and flying home to Arizona on Wednesday.
While he appears to have no qualms about spending next spring and summer in Toronto, the right-hander didn't exactly get used to jumping back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation as a Seattle Mariner last season.
A deal sending Morrow to the Blue Jays for relief pitcher Brandon League and minor-league outfielder Johermyn Chavez was made official Friday afternoon.
Morrow is being tabbed as a starter in Toronto.
"I was never really allowed to develop as a starter [in Seattle] the way I and a lot of other people thought I should be allowed to," he told the Seattle Times on Tuesday.
"Hopefully, this new chance [in Toronto] means I get to develop as a starter more. Changing roles has just been detrimental to me."
Morrow began last season as a reliever after dropping 12 pounds as a result of the flu during spring training. He started his first game of 2009 on June 13 at Colorado and remained in that role, tossing a one-hitter over eight innings in a shutout win over Oakland to end the season.
Morrow spent the first half of the 2008 campaign in the bullpen before transitioning to starter. His chaotic stint with the Mariners also included two stints in the minor leagues.
The 25-year-old Morrow had an 8-12 record with 16 saves and 3.96 earned-run average over 197 innings pitched in three seasons in Seattle.
Besides his changing roles, injuries and control issues stood out for Morrow in his time as a Mariner.
Shoulder ailments, elbow issues and biceps tendinitis have hampered Morrow from tapping his full potential after Seattle drafted him fifth overall in 2006.
That, plus the fact he has averaged six walks for every nine innings pitched.
"As a reliever, you get your one inning and I was able to overpower a lot of hitters," said Morrow. "I think that was a big part of stunting my development because I was allowed to overpower hitters with my fastball."
For League, who set a career high with 67 appearances and 76 strikeouts over 74 2/3 innings in 2009, the trade reunites him with Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair.
League and Adair were together in 2003 when the latter was pitching coach of AA New Hampshire in the Toronto organization.
"I know a lot of situations where a chance of scenery doesn't hurt and can really help a player. With me, this is what's happening," said League, who pitched two full seasons with the Blue Jays, with on and off stints from 2004 through 2007.
In Toronto, the 26-year-old went 7-10 with a 4.09 ERA in 202 1/3 innings.