Blue Jays pick Drew Hutchison to be opening-day starter for first time



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DUNEDIN, Florida — Toronto picked Drew Hutchison to make his first opening-day start, and the right-hander is slated to face the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka on April 6 in New York.

Toronto also released Dayan Viciedo from his minor league contract; reassigned left-hander Jeff Francis, outfielder Caleb Gindl and infielder Jonathan Diaz to their minor league camp; and optioned catcher Josh Thole to Triple-A Buffalo.

At 24 years old, Hutchison will be the youngest opening-day starter in franchise history. He is 1-2 with a 4.80 ERA in three career starts at Yankee Stadium.

"It's really exciting, opening day is special," Hutchison said Tuesday. "At the end of day, it's a long game. But as we all know, it's opening day. The excitement, the energy -- everything that goes into it is exciting."

After missing the 2013 season while recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery, Hutchison was 11-13 with a 4.48 ERA in 32 starts last season. He is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four spring training appearances.

"He answered the big question last year coming off of surgery. He can do this," manager Gibbons said. "He's bounced back and there's no looking back and it's a great honor for him. I think he'll handle it well."

R.A. Dickey had started Toronto's previous two openers.

Viciedo agreed with the Blue Jays on Feb. 28 and was competing for a reserve outfield spot after Michael Saunders tore his left meniscus shortly after the start of spring training.

After being informed Tuesday that he did not make the opening-day roster, Viciedo requested his release. He would have earned $2.5 million if he made the major league roster.

Viciedo, who missed part of spring training with a right foot infection, batted .233 with two RBIs in 15 exhibition games.

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