October 06, 2016 - 11:55 AM
ARLINGTON, Texas - Looking for insurance in case closer Roberto Osuna's sore shoulder doesn't come around, the Toronto Blue Jays loaded up on relief pitchers for their American League Division Series with Texas.
The Jays needed to move two people to accommodate starters Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ, who were not included on Tuesday's wild-card roster because they were unavailable having just pitched. Happ is slated to start Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday with Sanchez going in Game 3 on Sunday.
To make room, Toronto dropped infielder Ryan Goins and outfielder Dalton Pompey. That left eight relievers on the 25-man roster.
Osuna exited suddenly in the 10th inning of Tuesday's win over Baltimore after experiencing what he called a "stretch" in the front of his shoulder.
"We think he's going to be fine but you've got to cover yourself," manager John Gibbons said prior to Game 1 Thursday. "Really that's what it came down to."
"It's not ideal but we've got to cover ourselves in the bullpen," he added.
While Gibbons said Osuna was feeling better, he did not sound like his closer would be available Thursday. He also did not offer any options to close in his absence, saying "it depends what you've got getting there."
The roster moves deprive Toronto of Pompey's pinch-running skills. Gibbons called that a luxury, with Darwin Barney and Melvin Upton Jr. also speed options. Upton started in left field Thursday.
Gibbons said the decision Thursday to go with an outfield of Upton, Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel Carrera, with Jose Bautista as designated hitter, hinged on starter Marco Estrada being a fly ball pitcher.
"There's a big outfield out here so we've got to get our top runners out there to catch fly balls since he's on the mound," Gibbons said of Globe Life Park. "If somebody else was pitching, (Bautista) would probably be out there in right."
Catcher Russell Martin started despite taking a few stitches on the pinkie finger of his glove hand, an injury sustained during the on-field celebration following the wild-card win over Baltimore.
"He's all right. He's a hockey player," Gibbons said of the Canadian catcher.
Slightly battered third baseman Josh Donaldson also continues on despite battling a sore hip.
"He's fine. I mean he's not ideal, he's banged up but it's not going to get in his way," Gibbons said. "I mean they're all a little banged up. The guys across the way (in the Texas clubhouse) are a little banged up."
The ALDS bullpen consists of Osuna, Joe Biagini, Brett Cecil, Scott Feldman, Jason Grilli, Francisco Liriano, Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera.
That leaves the Jays with four bench players.
Once again, there was no place for R.A. Dickey, the 41-year-old knuckleballer who began his career in Texas.
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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016