04/16/2013 12:13 AM ET
Jackie Robinson Day special for reliever Oliver
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- For Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver, Jackie Robinson Day isn't just another day at the ballpark.
In 1997, Commissioner Bud Selig retired Robinson's famous 42 across all of baseball, making him the first athlete to have been bestowed such an honour in any sport.
A few years later, Major League Baseball began celebrating Jackie Robinson Day every April 15, and the celebration of this day, and the man, has become synonymous with baseball in April.
"It's one of those special days that you can remember what he did in baseball, and really what he did outside of the game of baseball," Oliver said.
For the 42-year-old left-hander, this day is a perfect way to help remind people of everything that the man accomplished.
Robinson helped tear down the barrier that existed in a world that had come to accept racism as commonplace. Not only did Robinson break baseball's colour line by becoming the first black athlete to play in the big leagues, but he also was known for his cultural and humanitarian impact off of the field.
Monday, every Blue Jays player wore Robinson's No. 42 on their back in honour of an exceptional man, and an exceptional athlete.
"We're wearing the number 42 on the back tonight, a lot of people might not know what it really means," Oliver said.
"But I think a lot of people should … for what he did. How hard it would be to actually be first black person to play baseball, and go through all the stuff that he went through off the field, and on the field."
"I couldn't imagine what he went through.
Lawrie to debut Tuesday; Santos placed on DL
TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie will make his long anticipated season debut for the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Toronto activated Lawrie and placed Sergio Santos on the 15-day disabled list after the club's 4-3 win over the White Sox on Monday.
Lawrie spent almost all of March and the first two weeks of the regular season rehabbing a strained left oblique that he injured prior to the World Baseball Classic.
Despite playing the past two games at second base in Class A Dunedin, the 23-year-old will be manning the hot corner when he returns to the Blue Jays lineup on Tuesday.
Lawrie's return comes only four days after the Blue Jays lost Jose Reyes for three months with a sprained left ankle.
Santos' injury is a recurrence of a similar issue from Spring Training with the right triceps in his throwing arm, just above his elbow.
"It's kind of been lingering, and I just kind of maintained and did the stuff I had to do to in order get back out there and pitch," Santos said. "It just kind of hit a point where I felt I wouldn't be doing the team any service, or helping them out, if I couldn't come in there and pitch effectively."
As has been the case with the Blue Jays all season, they are taking the cautious route in dealing with injuries and Santos will receive a precautionary MRI at the club's Spring Training facility in Dunedin on Tuesday.
Santos received an MRI back in March when the issue first surfaced. That test revealed no structural damage, and the reliever doesn't expect there to be any revealed in the new MRI.
"I think it's was just a matter of not giving it enough rest and letting it completely heal, because it did get better when I got a little bit rest. I want to be here pitching toward the end of the year when things get exciting," Santos said.
Santos played in only six games last season before being shut down for the year with a shoulder injury.
In five games in 2013, the 29-year-old has a 2.08 ERA and six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings and was a key cog to the team's late-game bullpen strategy.
"It's frustrating, just from missing a lot of last year and working so hard to get back and be ready for Opening Day and then to have something else kind of go wrong," Santos said.
Second opinion confirms Reyes' injury time frame
TORONTO -- Jose Reyes was in North Carolina on Monday to get a second opinion on his sprained left ankle and the results were mostly positive.
The ankle specialist confirmed the original diagnosis by the Kansas City doctors, meaning the shortstop will miss the next three months with his injury.
"We expect [him back] around the All-Star break," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said prior to Monday's game against the White Sox.
The good news for the Blue Jays is that Reyes will not require surgery, and his recovery will consist of a healthy dose of rest and rehab.
Reyes will spend the next two weeks in a cast, the following two weeks in a boot, and then will slowly graduate into resuming baseball activities.
"It's like Spring Training all over again. I think three months is fair," Anthopoulos said.
The confirmed results from North Carolina were contrary to a report that surfaced earlier Monday about Reyes being able to return within eight weeks. Anthopoulos seemingly ruled out any thought of a return that quickly, but he did say Reyes could maybe return a week ahead of the initial timetable.
In the meantime, the Blue Jays are comfortable utilizing Munenori Kawasaki, Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturiz up the middle on defense.
Ortiz expected to fill Blue Jays' long-relief role
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays selected the contract of veteran right-hander Ramon Ortiz from Triple-A Buffalo on Monday.
Ortiz made one start for the Bisons this season and allowed two runs in five innings in a no-decision on April 5. He was signed as a Minor League free agent during the offseason and received an invitation to Spring Training.
The 39-year-old has spent parts of 11 seasons in the Major Leagues while posting a career 4.93 ERA. He is expected to temporarily serve in long relief as the Blue Jays return to an eight-man bullpen while Brett Lawrie is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle.
"We just figured if, God forbid, something happens, someone gets hit early and we need that length, knowing we have another two weeks without an off-day, better just to be safe to be protective that we don't tax the bullpen," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
"Ortiz will be able to insure us if we go to extra innings or something happens early in the game, he'll be able to go five or six."
Outfielder Casper Wells was designated for assignment to make room for Ortiz on the 40-man roster. Wells was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays last week, but did not receive any playing time during his brief stint with the club.
The timing of the roster move seemed a little odd considering Jose Bautista was not in the starting lineup against the White Sox because of a sore back, leaving Toronto with a very short two-man bench for Monday's game.
With Bautista out of the lineup, Toronto opted to use catcher J.P. Arencibia in the No. 3 hole, while Mark DeRosa got the start at third base and Emilio Bonifacio started in right field.
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.