With just over a week to go before Opening Day, the Blue Jays roster is starting to round into shape, including several players returning from the World Baseball Classic, as well as from various injuries.
It’s getting so close I can almost taste it. As spring training schedules are getting ready to enter their final week, the Blue Jays and rival teams are starting to send the last of their players to minor league camp, and prepare to make their final roster decisions.
The Blue Jays are among the teams doing just that, as they optioned a slew of players to minor league camp on Friday. Another sign was the look of their lineup, which looked like something John Gibbons would use for a regular season game, save for the absence of Kendrys Morales.
It’s been a bit of a disjointed Grapefruit League season for the Blue Jays, however, most teams across baseball would likely say the same with the WBC having just finished up. Now that everyone has returned from the tournament, it feels like it’s time for MLB baseball.
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In addition to WBC players returning, the Jays have had a host of roster options returning from injury. Devon Travis is back in the lineup and playing defence, after having offseason knee surgery and recovering from a bone bruise sustained in the ALCS. After looking doubtful for the season opener, the talented second baseman looks to be on track for Game 1, barring any setbacks.
Ezequiel Carrera was injured just a few days ago, in a collision with Darwin Barney in shallow left field. It was initially feared that he might miss significant time, but he was able to return to the lineup on Friday as well.
Melvin Upton remains out of the lineup as he continues to nurse a sore right shoulder. It doesn’t sound as though it’s anything major, but he’s been off the field longer than expected. It’s entirely possible the Blue Jays are just allowing him to get it 100% prior to Opening Day, as his position as the 4th outfielder/platoon guy should be pretty safe.
Speaking of outfielders, we’re still waiting for updates on Dalton Pompey‘s progress recovering from the concussion he sustained in the WBC. The speedy Canadian hit his face into the ground as he slid trying to steal second base, and was later removed from the game. Although he’s reportedly starting to feel better (and doing some eye exercises?), he still hasn’t passed the concussion protocol, making his inclusion on the Opening Day roster nearly impossible.
On the positive side, Josh Donaldson continues to look healthy and ready to put the calf issues behind him as the season begins. Steve Pearce will also start in the outfield on Saturday, his first time during Grapefruit League play, and an important step after recovering from surgery to his forearm.
Lastly, Roberto Osuna should be fine, but is still nursing a sore back, and hasn’t pitched since returning from the WBC. Toronto’s pitching coach, Pete Walker, told the Toronto Star that the Blue Jays would likely try to him an appearance on Monday.