LINCOLN, Nebraska – The Toronto Blue Jays have purchased the contract of RHP Johnny Barbato, the Lincoln Saltdogs have announced.

Barbato was pitching his first full season of independent baseball and has three years of prior MLB experience.

Barbato got off to an excellent start in Lincoln, allowing just one run over 10 innings with seven hits, one walk and 12 strikeouts.

The 28-year-old Las Vegas native pitched with the New York Yankees in 2016, Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017 and Detroit Tigers in 2018. He also had experience pitching in Japan with Nippon Ham in 2019. In his big league career, Barbato is 1-3 with a 6.14 ERA, but pitched well with the Pirates in 2017, going 0-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 24 appearances out of Pittsburgh’s bullpen.

The ‘Dogs now have 12 pitchers on the staff, and Barbato was Lincoln’s only ex-Major Leaguer on the roster.

Barbato is the second Saltdog to have his contract purchased in 2021. INF Kyle Kasser was picked up by the Los Angeles Angels in April.

The Saltdogs are celebrating their 20th season at Haymarket Park this season! All ticket and promotional information can be viewed at