Jays looking to get healthier on coming road trip: Griffin
The Jays' manager John Farrell shared good news on many of his injury fronts on Saturday morning as the club looked forward to the return of some walking wounded -- even before the Sept. 1 date for expanding active rosters from 25 to 40 men.
It will be a busy 10-day period of significant roster movement prior to Sept. 1, as the Jays hit the road following Sunday's game against the Rangers. However, in the wake of another solid effort from righthander Carlos Villanueva, one of those changes will not involve the 28-year-old's return to the pen, even when Brandon Morrow returns.
“They can't say that (Carlos) can't start,” Farrell said. “Hell, he's in our rotation now. He's been probably our most consistent starter. He's done a hell of a job for us. In Carlos's case, two consecutive years he's stepped into the rotation without having to be sent out, stretched out. He's worked himself into a consistent guy. There's a lot of value.”
Morrow, recovering from an injury to his left oblique, has made two rehab starts at A-Dunedin and then flew north and made two more at AA-New Hampshire. There has been no discomfort. He is expected to make his final start for the Fisher Cats on Sunday, limited to an 80-pitch count. Morrow will likely re-join the Jays in Detroit and be re-inserted into the rotation in Baltimore next weekend, with a repeat of this outing's 80-pitch limit.
Here are some other moves to look forward to. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba is at AA-New Hampshire and will join the major-league Jays in Detroit. Third baseman Brett Lawrie played for Gulf Coast Jays on Saturday and will participate in a couple of contests in the A-Florida State League before joining the Jays at some point during the Tigers series. Lawrie has been working out, showing no signs of the strained oblique that sidelined him.
Adam Lind has resumed baseball activities in Florida and Farrell insisted his promotion back to the majors will not depend on the calendar, Sept. 1, or an expanded roster.
Plus, of course, there is Bautista. The sorely missed right fielder and team offensive leader took on-field batting practice for the first time since his injury on Saturday and was encouraged by the pain-free session.
“Pretty close to his normal pre-game BP,” was how Farrell described it. “With each successive day of work in the cage, or now on the field, he's feeling more confident. He'll repeat today's activity tomorrow and then we'll look to get him out and get him some live game activity. Today was pretty consistent to a normal bp. BP is typically not full game speed but it's pretty close.”
Bautista is expected to go out on a rehab option on Monday and play a Gulf Coast Jays game plus three for the A-Dunedin team. If his left wrist is still pain free, he could rejoin the Jays in Baltimore.
The big question becomes who leaves to make room for all these wecome returnees?
Consider that all three of Chad Jenkins, Aaron Loup, Anthony Gose were added to the roster for the first time recently and if they are sent back to Vegas for the final week of the AAA season, it would cost each player one of their three options. Not likely.
More likely to start with are Yan Gomes, mike McCoy and Moises Sierra, each of whom has already used a 2012 option. They can be sent down then called back up on September 1.