3/21/2013 6:25 P.M. ET
Hutchison readies for first bullpen session on mound
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Drew Hutchison is expected to throw off a mound Monday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last August.
Hutchison has been going through an extensive rehab program at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, with his work limited to playing catch and long tossing thus far.
"It'll be nice to finally get off the mound again," said Hutchison,who went 5-3 with a 4.60 ERA in 11 games last year before his injury . "It's going to be another step in the process. I'm looking forward to it definitely. It'll be another step in the right direction."
Hutchison said he is expected to ease into his work off the mound and will throw only 15 pitches during the first bullpen. That process will be repeated twice a week as he gradually builds up endurance in his arm.
There's still no timetable for when he'll face live hitters, but Hutchison is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break. He's slightly behind Kyle Drabek and Luis Perez, who underwent the same surgical procedure last year.
Drabek and Perez went under the knife before Hutchison and have already started throwing off the mound. Drabek already underwent Tommy John surgery once before and his presence has been somewhat comforting to Hutchison.
"I think it's good for all three of us to be able to bounce things off each other and get through it together," Hutchison said. "Kyle, it's his second time going through it, so if I ever feel anything or have questions, I can just ask him. It makes it a lot better than just being here by myself."
Blue Jays likely to use platoon at second base
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- It appears as though the competition at second base between Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio will end in a tie. Both players have always been guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster, but have been battling it out this spring for Toronto's starting job at second.
The evaluation is still ongoing, but the Blue Jays are leaning toward a platoon and having both infielders split time at the position.
"It would not surprise me if, at the end of the day, those guys share the role," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "I think it's going to evolve. One thing we've talked about, you're going to get more defense from Izturis. Maybe when you have someone you think is going to put the ball on the ground a little bit more, Izturis plays.
"I think there will be enough playing time for both guys. I don't believe at this stage one guy is going to have the job 140-games-plus. It can evolve -- someone could run away with it -- but they've both played well."
Izturis is the superior defender at second base, while Bonifacio possesses a more dynamic skillset at the plate. That could set the table for Izturis to start with the likes of Mark Buehrle and Ricky Romero or J.A. Happ on the mound, while Bonifacio could get the call for Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson.
Bonifacio began the spring with some well-documented issues up the middle. His range and hands appeared fine, but his throws to first often sailed wide and resulted in four errors this spring. But some of those flaws appear to have been ironed out in the past couple of weeks, and the Blue Jays have been encouraged.
"It seemed like it was just from the left side," Anthopoulos said of Bonifacio's defensive woes. "He hadn't played shortstop for awhile. Bonifacio defensively, in terms of second base, he has been fine. He's actually getting better. At shortstop, it just looked like that wasn't the greatest fit for him."