Which Blue Jays outfielder will step up to replace injured Michael Saunders?

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October 4, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Andy Dirks (12) is unable to catch a foul ball against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning in game one of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at O.co Coliseum. The Tigers defeated Athletics 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Andy Dirks
Age: 29 years old
Bats/Throws: L/L

Andy Dirks is the ultimate wild-card in this entire competition. Unlike the rest of the group, Dirks has an opportunity to unseat Kevin Pillar as the starting left fielder if he can prove to be healthy.

Of course, that’s a touch call.

Dirks missed the entire 2014 season with a back injury. After being claimed by the Blue Jays off waivers earlier this winter, the team non-tendered him rather than face arbitration. They eventually re-signed him to a minor league deal, but obviously knew something that necessitated such a move.

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That knowledge became apparent when the Blue Jays announced that they would not invite Dirks to Major League camp this spring, instead opting to have the outfielder work with the minor league squad and continue to rehab his back. In light of the Saunders injury, that plan may need to change a bit and the Blue Jays will be very attentive to evaluating where Dirks is health wise this spring.

Of the group, Andy Dirks is the Major League veteran, having accumulated 1063 plate appearances as a member of the Detroit Tigers, including netting 131 games in 2013 as the team’s starting left fielder. That season was a 1.7 win year for Dirks, he put up a .256/.323/.363 slash-line with 9 home runs and 37 RBI for the Tigers in 2013.

Defensively, Dirks is also a solid outfielder in left. That 2013 campaign saw an impressive 13.1 UZR/150, 6 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), and 7 outfield assists.

However, the rider here is obviously whether or now Dirks can get his back in shape quick enough to make a difference. With Saunders due back by the All-Star break, getting Dirks onto the field sooner rather than later benefits the team, but is no guarantee right now.

Next: Blue Jays lose Michael Saunders until All-Star Break