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03/22/11 5:29 PM ET

Blue Jays proceeding cautiously with Dotel

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Octavio Dotel made his return to the mound with one scoreless inning in a Minor League game on Tuesday afternoon.

Dotel struck out two in his first appearance since suffering a left hamstring injury on March 8. The 37-year-old went through his outing while Blue Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton looked on to monitor his progress.

"It was an encouraging outing just from an arm-strength standpoint and not favoring anything in the hamstring from his delivery," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.

With just 10 days until Opening Day, it remains to be seen whether the veteran right-hander will be ready.

Dotel will appear in another Minor League game before the club decides what his status will be moving forward.

"We want to be sure that he's ready and that we can get a proper amount of outings for him, just so he doesn't put himself in a situation where he's not fully prepared," Farrell said. "We don't want to risk injuring him or being harmful to our pitching staff and our overall performance as a team."

Opening Day in doubt for Blue Jays' Francisco

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Frank Francisco will likely miss the start of the regular season after being diagnosed with tightness in his right pectoral muscle and inflammation in his right biceps muscle.

Francisco received the news after visiting Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Dr. Andrews also confirmed an earlier report that there is no structural damage in the affected area, which potentially would have required surgery.

That bit of good news means the 31-year-old Francisco is set to resume his rehab at the beginning of next week.

"He'll start with a throwing program on Sunday," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "It looks like right now he will not be ready to go at the start of the season. We'll have a better read on that once he gets back into the throwing program."

The latest development confirms what the Blue Jays initially felt last week. Francisco received a clean bill of health following an MRI on Friday, but he continued to feel soreness in his right pectoral muscle during a bullpen session the following day. The club then opted to send the Dominican native for a second opinion.

"All along we have felt that based on the MRI that was performed here in town that there wasn't anything structurally damaged," Farrell said. "It was a matter of getting him over the irritation that he has been feeling. We look at this right now as a short-term thing, even though the short term doesn't have him active with us."

Francisco was acquired from Texas in an offseason trade for catcher Mike Napoli. Last season with the Rangers, Francisco went 6-4 with a 3.76 ERA and two saves.

Game work a priority for Blue Jays' Cordero

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Chad Cordero made his Grapefruit League debut in Tuesday's game against the Phillies.

Cordero was shut down early in Spring Training due to inflammation in his right throwing shoulder. He allowed one run on two hits over one inning of work.

"When you look at the progression he has gone through, this is another step forward for him," said manager John Farrell. "The stuff he had today was similar in the couple of Minor League games that he's pitched. We just have to continue to provide opportunity and work in order for him to build up any kind of arm strength ... that would be more reminiscent of what he's accustomed to."

The 28-year-old Cordero signed a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training during the offseason. He already has been ruled out of the Opening Day roster, because of his lack of innings.

"We feel like he needs some further repetition than what might be available on the schedule right now," Farrell said. "But that doesn't say that we have him completely out of the mix at some point early in the season."

The native of California has posted 128 saves with a 2.89 ERA during his seven-year career.

Strong effort by Drabek on display in Minors tilt

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Kyle Drabek made another strong impression on Monday afternoon as he attempts to break camp with the team.

The 23-year-old rookie threw six scoreless innings in a Minor League Spring Training game against the Yankees. He allowed five hits and three walks while striking out four.

It wasn't a flawless performance, but Drabek found a way to pitch himself out of trouble -- including in the fifth inning, when he had the bases loaded with one out before retiring the next two batters he faced.

"I was really happy with it," Blue Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton said. "The way he commanded his fastball down in the zone was really good to see. When he missed, he missed down, and he threw some very explosive fastballs down in the zones, two seams and cut it down there.

"I thought he stayed in his delivery very well. We've been working on staying on line out there, which means going directly toward the plate. He really bared down to really correct it."

In addition to Drabek's outing on Monday, he is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA in three outings this spring. He faces competition from Jesse Litsch and Jo-Jo Reyes for the final two spots in the Blue Jays' rotation.

Regardless of the final decision made during the next week, Drabek feels he has done all he can to make his case.

"I felt great all Spring Training," Drabek said. "I thought I've thrown the ball pretty well. Changeup's been a lot better, so I'm real happy with that.

"I had a changeup that I threw [last year], but it wasn't the best. I've been working on it a lot this spring, so it's come together pretty well."

Worth noting

Scott Richmond threw a bullpen session on Monday afternoon. It was his second bullpen session since being shut down with soreness in his right shoulder. He is scheduled for an inning later this week against the Braves. "His bullpen yesterday was more aggressive than his one three days prior," manager John Farrell said. "He [is] feeling better about himself, better about the condition he's dealing with, but he's slated for an inning on Thursday."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.