Ahead of Monday night’s game against the New York Yankees in Dunedin the Toronto Blue Jays made a handful of roster moves.
Robbie Ray was officially activated from the 10-day injured list and will be the starting pitcher in Game 1 against the Yankees. He was placed on the injured list on March 31 after taking a fall on a set of stairs and bruising his elbow. The Blue Jays signed Ray in the offseason to a one-year deal at $8M after acquiring him at the trade deadline in 2020.
He was hit or miss in his five appearances in 2020 with the Blue Jays, as he had three effective outings and two forgettable displays. However, he pitched well in Spring Training where he surrendered just three runs over 13.2 innings and striking out 18. With Ray joining the rotation, the team announced Sunday night that Tanner Roark would be moved to the bullpen.
Also re-joining the team will be left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. who went on the COVID Related Injured list after having a reaction Friday night to the vaccine. Gurriel has struggled so far to start the season going just 5 for 26 (.192) with no walks and seven strikeouts.
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When Gurriel Jr. was placed on the injured list on Saturday, the club recalled Santiago Espinal from the Alternative Training Site. Espinal had earned a spot on the roster with his spring hitting, however, because he had options to be sent down without requiring waivers he lost his spot. He played third base on Saturday night and collected three hits in five at bats including a double, RBI and two runs scored. However, with Gurriel being activated, Espinal was optioned back to the Alternative Training Site Monday morning.
The final move of the morning was optioning Joel Payamps to the Alternate Training Site. Payamps had made two appearances so far in the early season and then optioned shortly after pitching. Payamps has been quite effective throwing four innings without surrendering a run and striking out four. He falls into the same situation as Espinal as they have options and will be the first to be sent down.
Ray will face Gerrit Cole in the opener, followed by Hyun Jin Ryu on Tuesday and Ross Stripling in the finale on Wednesday. Stripling will need a strong outing as he is running out of chances to remain in the bullpen.