TORONTO -- Infielder Brett Lawrie made his return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Monday night following a six-game absence because of a right hamstring injury.
Lawrie had lingering tightness in the hamstring for more than a week before he was eventually pulled from a game vs. the Phillies on May 5. He had been listed as day to day but finally received clearance to play in the series finale vs. Los Angeles on Monday.
The 24-year-old got the start at third base vs. the Angels, but the next time he's in the lineup it will very likely be at second. Toronto intends to use Lawrie at second at least on a semi-regular basis in order to find playing time for Juan Francisco at third.
"It's not locked in that we're going to do it every time," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "The key is Francisco hitting. If he keeps hitting, we want to get him in there."
Lawrie seemed less than enthused about the idea when he made a similar transition during Interleague Play by stating, "I'm a third baseman", but also has said on multiple times that he'll do whatever is best for the team. There's some debate about the upside of the move, but it's clear the Blue Jays have a better lineup offensively when Francisco is starting at third instead of using Steve Tolleson or Jonathan Diaz at second.
Gibbons has yet to commit on a time frame for how long the experiment with Lawrie at second base will last, but in a lot of ways it's up to Francisco. If Francisco hits like he did in his first 17 games with the team (.311 BA, .403 OBP, 1.026 OPS) he'll be in the lineup, and if he hits like he did in his past three (0-for-10, eight strikeouts) he won't.
"It was short and quick," Gibbons said of his meeting with Lawrie. "He said he was fine with it. If it helps the team, he's all for it."
Diaz, Jenkins get call in latest set of moves
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' flurry of roster moves continued on Monday afternoon as the club promoted utility man Jonathan Diaz and right-hander Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo.
To make room on the 25-man roster, catcher Erik Kratz was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo and right-hander Sergio Santos was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm.
The Santos injury had been previously revealed by the club on Sunday afternoon, but the other moves had not yet been announced. Jenkins was added to replace Santos, while Diaz became a surprise addition because the club wanted another versatile defender.
"The way we're looking at it, if we're going to play [Juan] Francisco some at third, late in the game, maybe we're looking for an above-average defender, Jonny Diaz can do that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Jonny can also play the outfield, [Steve] Tolleson can play the infield and play the outfield. It gives us two guys that can play both spots."
Toronto has made 42 transactions dating back to one day before the season opener vs. Tampa Bay. Ten of those have been related to the DL, 16 were promotions to the big leagues, 10 were players being sent down and six were designated for assignment. The 42 includes Kenny Wilson and Mickey Storey, who were designated for assignment but didn't play on the 25-man roster this season.
The Yankees have made the most transactions in the American League East so far this season with 49. Toronto is second while Baltimore (37), Tampa Bay (31) and Boston (21) round out the rest of the division.
The timing of Monday's moves were rather curious, because they came just one day after closer Casey Janssen was activated from the DL. Even though the Blue Jays apparently knew that Santos was injured, they wanted to give him a little more time to heal before making a roster move.
That resulted in second baseman Chris Getz being designated for assignment prior to Sunday's 9-3 loss to the Angels. After the game, it was announced that Santos was going on the DL, and the following day Diaz was brought in for Kratz to give the club another infielder.
"We were going to give it a day just to see and we decided, you know what, in the long run it's better off," Gibbons said of putting Santos on the DL. "If it's just two weeks, he gets through it."
Jenkins has felt the roster crunch on more than one occasion. He has been promoted to the Major Leagues three times in the past two weeks, with only one of his stints lasting more than a handful of days. That's part of the job Jenkins signed up for, but it still has to be incredibly taxing on a young pitcher just trying to establish himself.
The 26-year-old hasn't been able to settle into much of a routine. He has been constantly transitioning from Toronto to Buffalo, and along the way has more delayed flights, lengthy drives and hotel stays than almost all of his peers.
"I was laughing with my mom, 'You know, I haven't slept in the same bed more than two nights in a row in like 12 days. My back doesn't know what a solid mattress feels like for more than three days,'" Jenkins said. "It's been fun, it's been a ride, it's been crazy."
Reyes gets day off for rest, not injury
TORONTO -- Jose Reyes received a day off on Monday night, but according to manager John Gibbons it wasn't because of an injury.
Reyes appeared to injure himself when he scored from second base on a ground ball hit by Jose Bautista during the first inning of Sunday's game vs. the Angels. Reyes slid into home and limped off the field but remained in the game.
There was some early speculation on Monday that the day off was because of the injury, but Gibbons attempted to end all of that talk. He said Reyes was fine and the time off had been scheduled before the incident at home even happened.
"Giving him a day off, he needs it," Gibbons said. "He came up walking awkwardly, but no injury. I told him before the game yesterday that he was getting the day off."
Reyes missed just over two weeks earlier this season because of a strained left hamstring. He has appeared in 21 games since making his return and is hitting .213 with a .290 on-base percentage and 10 extra-base hits on the year.
The Dominican native is currently on a four-game hitting streak. He's hitting 6-for-15 (.400) over that span with eight runs scored, two doubles, a homer and three stolen bases.