TORONTO -- John Farrell unveiled a new lineup on Monday night as the Blue Jays were matched up against a left-handed starter for the first time this season.
Toronto's manager opted to move designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion into the cleanup spot while sliding Adam Lind down to the No. 5 hole.
Farrell also decided to give the left-handed-hitting Eric Thames a night off while Rajai Davis received his first start of the year. It's an alignment the Blue Jays could opt to use a lot this season when facing southpaws.
"One thing we talked about in Spring Training, or even in the first few days in Cleveland, is that hitters are going to find themselves in one of three groups inside of a lineup -- upper third, middle third or bottom third, and we've got some flexibility because of the balance on our roster," Farrell said.
"Rajai is in there because of the way he's swinging the bat and his overall production career-wise against left-handed pitching. But this year compared to a year ago, we're just more equipped, we have a lot more flexibility and guys that can combat different types of opposing pitchers against us."
Farrell stopped short of saying that Thames and Davis will form a platoon in left field, but Toronto likely will utilize its right-handed options off the bench against lefties.
Davis is a career .292 hitter against lefties compared to a .263 mark against right-handers. Thames' numbers are the opposite, as he hit just .209 against lefties with a .275 average against right-handers in 2011.
The 31-year-old Davis also could see some time in center field this year when Colby Rasmus needs a day off. The Blue Jays will find time for both Davis and fifth outfielder Ben Francisco in those type of scenarios.
"I don't sit here today and say that a platoon situation is the way that we would ultimately go, but we just want to take advantage of some certain matchups," Farrell said. "I think you might see Rajai in there Wednesday in possibly a different type of lineup as well. The fact is, we've got players that we can mix and match with."
Laffey joins bullpen after short stint in Minors
TORONTO -- Aaron Laffey's stint in the Minor Leagues lasted just five days, as the veteran left-hander now finds himself back with the big league club.
Laffey was in contention for one of two spots in Toronto's starting rotation during Spring Training, but he ultimately was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas on the final day of camp.
The 26-year-old made one start with the 51s, but he found out Sunday he was headed north after the Blue Jays optioned right-hander Joel Carreno to the Minors.
"Just being a swing man in the past and being able to pitch in both roles, I knew this could be a possibility," said Laffey, who will pitch out of the bullpen. "But this early? No, you don't expect it, you don't think about it. You have to pitch wherever you're at and just be ready when you're called. I was a little surprised, not shocked, but definitely ready to go."
Toronto had decided prior to Carreno's start on Sunday that he would be sent to the Minors after the game. The main reason for that was a pair of extra-innings games that required the Blue Jays to play 37 innings in their three-game set against the Indians.
That put a heavy workload on Toronto's bullpen, and with a fifth starter not being needed until April 21, the Blue Jays brass went ahead with the roster move. Carreno, who surrendered four runs in six innings, will once again be considered for a starting job, but it's possible Laffey will enter the mix as well.
"They're not going to stop evaluating after Spring Training," Laffey said. "It's going to lead into the season and it's going to continue depending on how guys develop, how they attack hitters. It's definitely an ongoing thing regardless of whether it goes through April, May or whatever it may be. Anything can happen at any given time in this game.
"You don't want to expect anything. You can't have too high of expectations. You really just have to worry about the day to day things that you can control, get better every day and be ready when your name's called. That's really how I approach it."
Laffey went 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 53 1/3 innings with the Mariners and Yankees last season.
Snider jams finger while diving back to first base
TORONTO -- Triple-A Las Vegas outfielder Travis Snider was held out of the lineup late last week following a minor hand injury.
Snider jammed his middle finger while diving back into first base on a pickoff attempt. The 24-year-old was taken to the hospital for further evaluations, but everything checked out normal.
"The catcher attempted a pickoff move, [and Snider] jammed his middle finger on the bag and was just held out for precautionary [reasons]," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "But all the MRIs and X-rays, there's nothing there, it's just jammed. There are no fractures or anything."
Snider entered Spring Training in a competition for the starting job in left field, but Eric Thames ultimately won the job, which resulted in Snider being optioned to the Minor Leagues.
Snider is a career .248 hitter, with 28 home runs and 104 RBIs in 232 Major League games. He'll likely be the first outfielder recalled to the big leagues if any of Toronto's starters goes down with an injury.