Rowdy Tellez will face his former team for the first time when the Milwaukee Brewers host the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night to open a three-game series.
Tellez spent eight seasons in the Blue Jays' organization before he was traded to Milwaukee before last year's deadline. He fell behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on Toronto's depth chart but has found a home in Milwaukee, where he is hitting .249 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs this season.
The 27-year-old said he is thankful for everything the Blue Jays did for him.
"The teammates, I loved my time in Toronto," Tellez said. "Everybody wants to spend their whole career in one place but unfortunately (for me) they have a guy who's arguably the best first baseman in baseball, and it was my time, so I can't thank them enough. They allowed me to debut there. ...
"They could easily have just said, 'Hey, we're going to put you in the minor leagues.' I had options at that point and they could have done that. But we talked about it and we both wanted something that was going to benefit both of us, and we were able to work it out, and they sent me here. I couldn't be more appreciative of that."
Toronto received pitchers Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis from Milwaukee in exchange for Tellez. Richards has appeared in 29 games out of the bullpen this season and Francis has made one appearance for the Blue Jays but has spent most of the season in the minor leagues.
On Friday, Tellez and his teammates likely will face a tough test against Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah (8-2, 2.00 ERA). The 24-year-old has allowed less than one baserunner per inning this year and has a terrific strikeout-to-walk rate of 73 to 15.
Manoah is eager to bounce back from his worst outing of the season. He gave up four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the New York Yankees last week.
"Honestly, a lot of calls didn't go his way (in that game)," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "He had to battle a little bit harder this time. That's how it goes in baseball, but I can say that some calls didn't go his way."
This will be Manoah's first career start against Milwaukee. He is 1-1 with a 6.91 ERA in three career interleague games against the Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals.
Milwaukee will counter with right-hander Adrian Houser (4-7, 4.24 ERA), who is scheduled to make his 14th start of the season. He will go for back-to-back victories after posting a quality start against the Reds his last time out, when he gave up three runs in six innings.
This will be Houser's first career start against the Blue Jays.
Milwaukee is 17-14 at home this season after Thursday's 6-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Toronto is 18-16 on the road. The Blue Jays should be well rested after a day off Thursday, which followed a 9-5 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
--Field Level Media