TORONTO -- David Cooper likely will be forced to miss the rest of the year after re-aggravating his back injury during a rehab assignment with Class-A Dunedin.
Cooper went 1-for-5 with a strikeout for Dunedin on Tuesday night while playing first base for the first time since being placed on the disabled list in late August.
After the game, Cooper complained of increased discomfort in his mid-to-upper back and has now been officially shut down. It remains extremely unlikely he will be able to re-join the big league club before the end of the year.
"The back symptoms have re-emerged, so he has been called off his rehab assignment and shut down," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Likely for the season."
Back injuries have been a constant problem for Toronto's first basemen this year. Adam Lind missed more than a month with a sore back, while Edwin Encarnacion has also experienced nagging discomfort in the same area.
It's a puzzling situation for an organization to have three guys at one position all go down with the same injury and there's no clear solution to the problem.
"For it to center around our first baseman is, I'd like to think it's coincidental, and yet when you talk to each person individually at various points, all three have dealt with it," Farrell said.
"Whether it has been initiated because of a swing or whether it has been initiated because they are holding runners on, that seems to be where the stress comes in. When they're in that position, holding runners on for a prolonged period, that's a cumulative effect."
Cooper hit .300 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 45 games with the Blue Jays this season. His future with the organization remains somewhat unclear but he could battle Lind for a starting job next spring.
Blue Jays to skip Romero in rotation
TORONTO -- Left-hander Ricky Romero has been scratched from his next scheduled outing and will instead pitch next Wednesday against the Mariners.
Romero was originally slated to start on Saturday night in Boston, but will now be given a total of nine days' rest between outings.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell believes Romero has thrown the ball better when provided with a longer break, and that an extended period of downtime could help him finish the year on a positive note. Romero was accepting of the club's decision, but doesn't necessarily agree with its line of thinking.
"Obviously not what you want to hear," said Romero, who is 8-13 with a 5.85 ERA in 28 starts this season. "Like I said all along, I get ready for every fifth day and I'm sure if the circumstances were a little different, I wouldn't be missing a start.
"It's a little disappointing, the last thing I want to do is sit here in the dugout and just think about stuff. I want to get out there and I want to compete. But it is what it is, you've got to take it for what it's worth and move forward."
The decision to essentially skip Romero's next outing comes on the heels of a disappointing start against the Rays. Romero allowed seven runs on eight hits and one walk in one-plus innings of work, which went down as the shortest outing of his career.
Romero's previous start came against the Yankees, where he allowed just two runs in seven innings in one of his best outings this year. Romero made that appearance in New York on six days' rest and the organization's hope is that another extended break will have Romero at full strength.
"I'm sure he's not fully pleased, and I'm sure he's not pleased by what has transpired over the last two and a half months," Farrell said. "So when it's outlined that we're going to bump him a start and then keep him on extra rest, we feel like that's what we're doing based on what we see, and what's the best approach for the remainder of the season."
Toronto's line of thinking doesn't necessarily match with Romero's track record this season. The 27-year-old has a 6.56 ERA (62 ER, 85 IP) on normal rest, a 4.21 ERA (27 ER, 57 2/3 IP) with five days' rest and a 7.52 ERA (17 ER, 20 1/3 IP) with six or more days' rest.
Even though the club can't come out and officially say it, the decision to skip Romero likely has as much to do with who his next opponent would have been more than anything else. Romero was set to face division-rival Boston on Saturday, but will now instead get a more favorable match-up against the Mariners.
Romero has struggled against the Red Sox more than he has against any other team in his career. The native of Los Angeles is 5-7 with a 7.12 ERA in 15 starts against Boston, and earlier this year surrendered eight earned runs in just three innings at Fenway Park.
But the stated reason is the extra rest, despite the fact that Romero hasn't noticed any difference when taking the mound after being given an extra day or two.
"The biggest thing is if I noticed something different in my velocity, a drastic change, but when you look up there, you see 93, 94, 92, whatever it is, I feel good, feel fresh," Romero said. "I work hard every off-season and during the season to get ready for the grind of the year. It's only my fourth year and I feel like you shouldn't feel tired until you're probably in your 10th year.
"I'm sure innings catch up to you at that point. Right now I feel fresh and good. It is what it is and no hard feelings toward anyone. Just got to live with it."