7/2/2013 8:30 P.M. ET
Morrow cleared to start throwing program
By Gregor Chisholm and Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow is finally pain free, but likely won't be able to return until at least the end of July.
Morrow has been out since May 28 with soreness in his right forearm. The 28-year-old originally began a rehab assignment in June, but the pain returned and he was forced to stop pitching.
That recently changed and Morrow has been cleared to start a throwing program with another rehab stint to follow at some point in July.
"Normally, when you look at a starter, they need at least three [rehab starts]," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "You have to build up to five or six innings and most times out, you're looking at two or three the first time. We think it'll be right around there."
Morrow is just one of several injured Blue Jays pitchers attempting to make their way back. Righties Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison are both making progress in their rehabilitation from last year's Tommy John surgery, but aren't expected to make an impact this season.
Drabek began a rehab assignment with Class A Dunedin and likely will be optioned to the Minors in the near future. Hutchison is still just taking part in simulated games, but he'll begin a rehab assignment soon before following a similar path as Drabek.
The same can't be said for left-hander Luis Perez, who also underwent Tommy John surgery last season. Perez began a rehab stint in early June, but suffered a setback when he experienced discomfort in his left elbow.
"Perez is doing better, he had a bit of a flareup early on so he has just been throwing bullpens and sides," Anthopoulos said. "We want to be careful with him just because he did have a setback early. It wasn't severe, but we just weren't going to take any chances.
"He had been built up to go two innings and then had some soreness in his elbow. So he may start a rehab assignment, but we're going to be 100 percent sure on him. He's probably still pretty far away."
In other injury news, left-hander J.A. Happ has continued to throw off a mound, but he won't be cleared for a rehab assignment until he feels completely healthy. Happ hasn't pitched since he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings on May 7.
The cruel twist of fate is that it's not the head injury which has continued to cause problems, but rather a sprained left knee he suffered on the same play.
"He's throwing batting practice but being able to get off the mound, field your position, do all of those things, our trainers have said you can't take that chance until there's no soreness," Anthopoulos said. "He'll get up in the morning, be a little sore, and once he starts to get going the soreness goes away. Until that pain is completely gone, he won't start an actual rehab assignment."
Encarnacion, Lind, Arencibia held out of lineup
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are walking a thin line when it comes to filling out a healthy lineup card.
Toronto had Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, and J.P. Arencibia all on the bench with minor ailments Tuesday, leaving manager John Gibbons with almost no wiggle room if an injury were to occur.
With an eight-man bullpen, the three men on the bench are all the club has when it comes to position players, and only Arencibia is available to pinch-hit despite some shoulder issues from collisions at the plate in Boston over the weekend.
"He jarred his shoulder a little bit," Gibbons said of his catcher. "No big deal, but give him one more day, too. We DH'd him yesterday, but we don't want to get caught with that guy in the lineup while we're shorthanded at other places."
For Lind and Encarnacion, who are bothered by back and hamstring issues, respectively, it was the second straight day out of the lineup, but both look like they'll be back sooner rather than later. As a result, the Blue Jays aren't expecting to make any roster moves.
"I think we're just going to wait and see if guys are feeling better," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "It looks like they'll both be playing tomorrow. If it was something that was going to go into eight or nine days, then maybe you might have to do something."
What the Blue Jays are trying to do is not lose someone for 10 days or more. Meaning no stints on the disabled list, and no pitchers optioned to the Minors.
"You lose those guys for 10 days, that's the hardest part about it," Anthopoulos said of optioning a pitcher. "So you're better off to play short if you have to for two or three days, then you don't have to worry about it.
"Some relievers are so beat up right now, we're just trying to get back on track right now. Obviously, R.A. [Dickey] giving us the innings he did [Monday] was big. We just need all those guys [in the bullpen right now]."
Lawrie won't be rushed back from sprained ankle
TORONTO -- Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is going to be afforded all the time he needs in the rehab of his sprained left ankle.
Lawrie was rushed to the Major Leagues in April before he was ready, and as a result, he never really found the timing he needed at the plate.
"We acknowledged it [that we rushed him] at the time," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "We had a need for his glove at the time.
"Ideally we would have given him more time. ... We just decided to try to have him work through his timing here, but at least we knew defensively he was going to help. And he did, but the bat obviously didn't come along."
Lawrie hit .209 with a .268 on-base percentage, five home runs, 14 RBIs and 11 runs scored in 37 games before his injury in late May sidelined him.
Initially, he was called up because of a defense that was struggling to make even simple plays, with the combination of Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio having trouble. Now, the defense has settled in and the need for Lawrie's glove isn't as pressing, especially when he still needs to find that timing on offense.
"The defense, overall, has stabilized itself," Anthopoulos said. "I think Izturis has been playing great. He's made some great plays at third. And [Mark] DeRosa has been fine when he's been over there. So I think we have time with Brett. ... I think with Brett, we'll just give him as many at-bats as we can."
Lawrie's rehab scheduled was adjusted this week because of rain in the Central Florida region. Lawrie has left Class A Dunedin and will travel to Class A Lansing on Wednesday and is expected to play the following day. It's not known how long he'll need in Lansing, but he'll likely advance to Double-A New Hampshire and then Triple-A Buffalo before rejoining the Blue Jays.
Lawrie, who began a 20-day assignment last Wednesday, will likely serve out the full duration of that assignment, which would end during the All-Star break.
In groove, Bautista sticking with high-cuffed pants
TORONTO -- Certainly, it can't be that simple.
Jose Bautista struggled to the tune of a .182 average and seven extra-base hits in June before Saturday's contest against the Red Sox. After spending much of the month mired in a slump, Bautista decided to mix up his outfit in hopes of turning around his luck.
The problem was that none of his pants fit the newly adopted high-cuff style, so he borrowed a pair from starter R.A. Dickey in Boston on Saturday.
The move immediately paid dividends. Since then, Bautista has gone 6-for-11 with three home runs, four RBIs, five runs scored, three walks, and a stolen base for good measure entering play Tuesday.
"Dickey's pants until further notice," Bautista declared to the Toronto Star after Monday's 8-3 victory over the Tigers.
It all started with that Saturday performance that saw the Blue Jays right fielder hit two moon shots over the Green Monster at Fenway Park, both of them critical to Toronto's victory.
"I had a good day in the cage and good BP, so I felt like I had more rhythm than days past," Bautista said afterward. "I was able to lay off some tough pitches and get the ones over the plate. And when I swung, I didn't miss them, so it was a good day."
Blue Jays announce 14 international signings
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays announced that they signed 14 international players on Tuesday.
Among them was shortstop Yeltsin Gudino, ranked No. 11 on MLB.com's list of Top International prospects. He signed for $1.29 million, according to a source.
Gudino, 16, is six-feet tall and 150 pounds and comes from Maracay, Venezuela. He trains with former Major League shortstop Carlos Guillen in his hometown.
The youngster helped captain Venezuela to a championship at the 15U World Championship last August in Mexico, batting .458 with a .611 on-base percentage and a .833 slugging percentage.
Scouts say that Gudino is a polished and solid defender for his age with a slightly above-average arm. He's proven to be a good baserunner with average speed, and has been called a typical two-hole hitter despite a limited power stroke.
The Blue Jays also inked center fielder Freddy Rodriguez, also from Venezuela. Rodriguez is 6-foot-1, has above-average speed, and is ranked the 18th best international prospect by Baseball America. He, like Gudino, attends Guillen's academy.
Also among the signees were shortstops Jesus Ramirez and Miguel Almonte from the Dominican Republic.
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.