Blue Jays injury notes: Dioner Navarro begins rehab assignment


Ever since the Toronto Blue Jays placed Dioner Navarro on the disabled list on April 23rd, the back-up catcher/designated hitter has become somewhat of a forgotten man. At least, he was forgotten up until Tuesday, when Navarro was sent to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons to begin a rehab assignment, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.

That’s good news for Dioner Navarro, at least in terms of health, but Navarro’s place on the roster will remain an interesting story for the Blue Jays. After acquiring Russell Martin to take over as the team’s new starting catcher, Navarro was relegated to back-up duty, and part-time DH work, a role that the 31-year-old was not happy with. He immediately asked for a trade upon hearing of the Martin signing, something the Blue Jays have thus far been unable to accommodate. Of course, a hamstring injury did nothing to elevate his trade value.

That’s said, Navarro will return to even more uncertainty once he gets activated from the disabled list. Navarro had only appeared in eight games when he hit the disabled list in late April, and of their eight games, five were as the team’s designated hitter. Surprisingly enough, the splits for Navarro were actually quite favorable toward his DH role in small samples.

However, with Jose Bautista‘s current injury limiting him to DH duties and Edwin Encarnacion needing a breather every few days from first base, at-bats from the DH are few and far between, perhaps now even more so than they were as Martin’s back-up.

That said, once activated, it is obvious that the Blue Jays will resume having Martin handle R.A. Dickey‘s starts, with Navarro perhaps slotted in opposite Mark Buehrle. That leaves Josh Thole to be optioned back to Triple-A Buffalo. Then again, with a little over $3.5 million remaining on Navarro’s 2015 salary, perhaps the Blue Jays can find a home for him on the trade market. Navarro could represent an upgrade to a number of teams, including Cincinnati, Miami, Tampa Bay, Texas, and the Chicago White Sox to name a few. However, he’ll need to show he’s healthy first, both on the rehab assignment and likely for a short audition at the Major League level, before anyone considers a trade in that regard.

For now, we’ll wait and see how the drama unfolds.

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