DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays first baseman David Cooper is out indefinitely with a back injury, and he will not be reporting to Spring Training this year.
Cooper is set to visit a back specialist in the near future, but there is no timetable for his return; surgery has not yet been ruled out. It appears as though the injury is severe, and it could put his 2013 season into question.
The 26-year-old Cooper injured his back late last August and was unable to return before the end of the season. At the time, it was suggested that the injury resided in his upper back and neck area, but the recent diagnosis is linked to another spot.
"It's a disc in the middle of his back," manager John Gibbons said. "I don't know all the specifics, but it's in a tough area to treat and heal. It's going to be longer than we were hoping. It's serious."
Cooper was not expected to break camp with the Blue Jays this spring but the latest setback still represents a major blow to the club's overall depth.
The native of California appeared in 45 games at the big league level last season, posting a .300 average and a .788 on-base plus slugging percentage. He was set to begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo but would have been the first player called up if either Edwin Encarnacion or Adam Lind sustained an injury.
"He's a good player in the organization -- sooner or later, you'd figure he was going to help us out one way or another," Gibbons said. "You always look at guy's career, too. A guy's back, that threw a wrench in it for him personally now. Hopefully, he heals quickly."
Blue Jays expect communication from players
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos disputed claims on Sunday morning that Adam Lind received mixed messages regarding the club's philosophy on hitting last season.
Lind told a group of reporters that he was confused the past couple of years regarding what the club wanted to see from him at the plate. He was reportedly being told by former manager John Farrell to be more patient, while former hitting coach Dwayne Murphy preferred a more aggressive approach.
Anthopoulos remained diplomatic but appeared to take issue with the comments, adding that if that was the case, it was Lind's responsibility to bring those concerns forward to the team.
"I like Adam a lot, but I don't necessarily entirely agree," Anthopoulos said. "The organization wanted him to be more selective. That's on me as well. I told Adam, 'You have an on-base percentage below .300 two years in a row.'
"Murph will tell you, when you get a pitch to hit, a strike, you swing and you attack it and you look for that pitch, and if you don't get it, obviously at that point you lay off. That's where your walks will come from. ... Saying John preached patience and so on -- I did, too."
Lind is now three years removed from 2009, when he won an American League Silver Slugger Award. That year, he posted a .305 average with 35 homers, 114 RBIs and a .932 on-base plus slugging percentage, but the following seasons haven't been nearly as productive.
The 29-year-old Lind walked a total of 70 times but struck out 251 times between 2010 and '11, and while he showed eventual improvement last season, some of the same concerns remained.
There's some optimism that under the tutelage of new hitting coach Chad Mottola, the veteran first baseman can regain his previous form, but it remains to be seen whether that will be the case.
There has been an emphasis on having one clear voice coming from the coaching staff, and manager John Gibbons is already on record as saying that if he notices something with Lind's swing, he'll go to Mottola first to avoid any possible confusion.
Even so, Anthopoulos believes the responsibility for the supposed mixed messages in the past ultimately falls on Lind's shoulders.
"If he was confused overall and he wasn't sure, then I'd say it's on him to go and communicate that," Anthopoulos said. "He has been in the league long enough now, and it's up to him to say, 'I'm a little confused; I need a little help' and whatnot.
"Adam's always honest; you always respect that. He speaks from the heart all of the time, but for me, I always try to stress, 'If something doesn't work for you, if you're confused, if you're not sure, it's on you to say something. We can't do anything to help you if you don't express how you're feeling.'"
First full-squad workout has Blue Jays pumped
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Spring Training is now officially in full swing as the Blue Jays held their first full-squad workout at the club's Bobby Mattick Training Center on Sunday.
Pitchers, who reported to camp on Tuesday, used the opportunity to throw batting practice. The likes of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Esmil Rogers and Brett Cecil took the mound in the latest step toward getting ready for the start of the regular season.
Hitters were allowed to swing, but for the most part, they took only light cuts and tracked pitches through the strike zone. They then stuck around after the pitchers were done to go through a more traditional BP session.
"That's all for the pitchers," hitting coach Chad Mottola said of BP. "Spring Training in the first week is for the pitchers. It's one of those things that, 'Hey, guys, get what you can get out of it. Let the pitchers get their work in.'"
The day began with a speech from general manager Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons. It was a brief exchange with the players designed to outline the expectations of Spring Training and set a guideline for conduct and professionalism throughout the season.
A similar talk is given every season, but this one comes following a busy winter that has heightened the expectations not only outside of the clubhouse but inside it as well.
"It's a little orientation," Gibbons said. "I had a three-minute rah-rah speech -- 'Let's go, let's not get caught up with what [media] are saying, let's get our work done and play baseball.' Basically, if we're good enough, we'll get there. If we're not, we won't, but we should be."