Padres pick up potential reliever

Padres pick up potential reliever

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres, perhaps in an attempt to shore up their bullpen in the near future, claimed Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Josh Banks off waivers on Wednesday.

Banks, 25, was a starting pitcher in the Blue Jays' Minor League system, but according to Padres manager Bud Black, he will be sent to the bullpen at Triple-A Portland.

Banks, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-hander, was selected by the Blue Jays in the second round of the June 2003 First-Year Player Draft. He attended college at Florida International University.

"He's a right-handed pitcher with a fastball, slider and split-finger [fastball]," said Black. "He has good control and a low walk rate and started his entire career with the Blue Jays, but we're going to try him in the bullpen in Portland."

Banks made his Major League debut on Sept. 11 against the Yankees in relief and retired Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon in order. He made his debut as a starter in his hometown of Baltimore on Sept. 27 and received a no-decision in an 8-5 loss. He tossed 5 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits.

In two relief outings with the Blue Jays last season, Banks allowed one run on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in two innings.

Last season, Banks posted a 12-10 record with a 4.63 ERA in 27 starts at Triple-A Syracuse. The 12 victories represented a career high at one level. He tossed three complete games, which was tied for second in the International League. He worked 169 innings, second most among all International League pitchers. He did not walk a batter in 10 of his 27 starts and never walked more than two in a game.

"[Padres pitching coach] Darren Balsley is associated with a lot of people in the Toronto Blue Jays player development," said Black.

The Padres' bullpen has been inconsistent this season.

The bullpen, which led the Major Leagues in ERA (3.06) in 2007, is 1-8 with a 5.53 ERA after 21 games. In the recently concluded five-game road trip, the overall team ERA went from 3.10 to 4.23.

Sandy Burgin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.