After a month-long rough patch, Henderson Alvarez looks like he could be one of the Jays' better options, allowing one run on seven hits over seven innings last Saturday against the Angels.
"He has had some recent stretches of performance where he has been pretty darn good," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
Part of Alvarez's turnaround is due to a change in his positioning on the mound.
Alvarez has started to pitch from the third-base side of the rubber, which has given him more depth on his sinker and changeup, making him an even more effective groundball pitcher.
"I think, in his mind, he feels more comfortable," Farrell said. "I think he is back in familiar territory."
Alvarez will take the mound for the Blue Jays on Thursday in their finale with the Royals, who will counter with Luke Hochevar.
Hochevar entered his last start riding a streak of 16 2/3 scoreless innings, but it ended in the first, as Hochevar ultimately gave up five runs on eight hits -- including three homers -- in six innings.
"I didn't feel like my breaking stuff was very sharp, it was just kind of looping in there and didn't have any bite," Hochevar said. "Two of those home runs came with two strikes when I was trying to put the guy away."
Royals: Roster shuffle
The Royals designated outfielder Mitch Maier for assignment and optioned right-hander Vin Mazzaro on Wednesday to make room on the 25-man roster for a pair of Triple-A pitchers: right-handers Nate Adcock and Louis Coleman.
Coleman pitched the eighth inning on Wednesday, yielding a single to Brett Lawrie before striking out the side.
Alcides Escobar went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, giving him multiple hits for the ninth time in his last 19 games.
Salvador Perez has a hit in each of his nine games this season.
Blue Jays: Stroman heading to Vancouver
The Jays signed 22nd overall Draft pick Marcus Stroman on Tuesday, and the right-hander will begin his career with Class A Vancouver.
"It has been awhile, happy that the process is now over and I can finally start my career as a Blue Jay," Stroman said. "I'm looking forward to getting up to Vancouver pretty soon here, playing with that team and time to start my journey."
Stroman is expected to rise quickly through the Blue Jays' system, potentially reaching the Majors by the end of the 2012 season.
Lawrie has a .319 batting average in 28 games as the leadoff hitter and is hitting .341 in his last 18 games.
Edwin Encarnacion is on a 10-game hitting streak, batting .424 (14-for-33) during that stretch.
Mike Moustakas is hitting .459 in 10 career games against the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays are 12-5 against AL Central, with six wins against the Royals.
Billy Butler is 0-for-23 against Toronto this season.