TORONTO -- In need of arms to help a tired bullpen, the Toronto Blue Jays have purchased the contract of right-hander pitcher Marcus Walden from the Buffalo Bison of the International League.
To make roster room, Toronto designated right-hander Jeremy Jeffress for assignment.
"With the last couple of starts, we didn't get a whole lot out of our starters," manager John Gibbons said Saturday prior to an afternoon game against the New York Yankees. "We needed some length."
Toronto used five pitchers after starter Dustin McGowan lasted just 2 2/3 innings in a 7-3 loss to the Yankees on Friday night. Brandon Morrow went five innings, with two relievers coming on after in a 7-2 loss Thursday in Tampa.
The Friday night loss marked the third time in five games this season that the Jays have allowed 11-plus hits.
The Jays had looked at bringing up Chad Jenkins but because he's on the 40-man roster he's not eligible to be brought up until April 11 -- unless in the case of an injury replacement.
The 25-year-old Walden has made one appearance with the Bisons this season, pitching a scoreless inning.
The six-foot 195-pound pitcher made 26 starts for the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League last season, recording a 6-14 record with a 3.71 ERA.
"He impressed me during spring training," said Gibbons. " He can throw some innings for you, he's used to starting. And he throws strikes, that's the key."
The hard-throwing Jeffress gave up three hits and one run in one inning of relief Friday night against New York.
"We like Jeffress' potential," said Gibbons. "He did a nice job for us in September but he didn't get off to a real good start. That's the reality of the business ... He was the odd man out."
General manager Alex Anthopoulos, meanwhile, said pitcher J.A. Happ was slated to throw a rehab assignment in Dunedin on Saturday night barring weather issues.
A back issue has resulted in Happ, who was pencilled in for a spot in the starting rotation, starting the season on the disabled list.