4/16/2014 12:48 A.M. ET
Squeezed out of rotation, Happ joins 'pen
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- J.A. Happ is back with the Blue Jays, but it's safe to say that he's less than enthused about his current role within the organization.
Toronto's left-hander was activated from the 15-day disabled list following Sunday afternoon's game against the Orioles. He's scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen and likely will become a long reliever -- at least for the immediate future.
That's not what Happ was expecting a couple of months ago, and with more 114 career starts under his belt, it's clear that he feels the starting rotation is where he belongs.
"Not great," Happ said when asked how he felt about the role. "It's not necessarily what I prepared to do but if the phone rings and it's me, I'm going to try and get guys out and take it from there. Other than that, I don't have a lot to say about the bullpen role."
Happ remained mostly guarded during his first scrum with reporters since being activated off the DL. He frequently paused and appeared to be searching for the right thing to say, but over the course of several minutes it became rather obvious that Happ is frustrated with his current situation.
The 31-year-old entered Spring Training with what he believed was a guaranteed job in the rotation. He then struggled in a pair of early spring outings and eventually developed a back injury that caused him to miss just over a week of a camp.
Happ did return in plenty of time to get ready for the start of the season, but when his struggles on the mound continued the Blue Jays decided to place him on the DL. Happ eventually made a pair of rehab starts in the Minor Leagues and has now been cleared to return.
The problem is that there is no longer a starting job waiting for him. Right-hander Dustin McGowan was named the No. 5 starter near the end of Spring Training and unless someone struggles -- or gets hurt -- within the next few weeks, Happ will remain relegated to the bullpen.
"I see myself as a starter, I don't think that's any secret," said Happ, who has a 4.25 ERA over the course of 682 2/3 career innings. "I want to be a starter in the Major Leagues. That's that."
Back tightness could force Lind to miss time
MINNEAPOLIS -- Adam Lind is considered day to day with a lower-back injury, but it appears possible his condition will eventually need an extended period of time off.
Lind felt his back tighten up during the fourth inning of Tuesday night's 9-3 win over the Twins. It's something that had been bothering him for the past several days but became more severe in the series opener in Minnesota.
The hope is that Lind will feel better within the next couple of days, but history suggests it could take a lot longer than that for his back to properly heal.
"I hope I feel better tomorrow, but that would be a miracle," Lind said.
Lind was in a noticeable amount of discomfort after the game. He was walking around very gingerly and appeared to have very little -- if any -- movement in his lower back. That won't be encouraging news for a team that is already without the services of Jose Reyes, Casey Janssen and Colby Rasmus.
This type of situation is unfortunately very familiar for the designated hitter. He compared the soreness to what he went through in 2011-12, and during both of those years he required a lengthy stint on the disabled list and missed a total of 52 games.
"The team was playing good, it was hard to watch the last few innings," a downcast Lind said afterward.
Lind is hitting .324 (11-for-34) with a home run, six RBIs and nine walks in 13 games this season. He recently moved up in the batting order and was hitting in the cleanup spot between Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
If Lind requires a stint on the disabled list, the Blue Jays likely would purchase the contract of either Dan Johnson or Juan Francisco from Triple-A Buffalo.
Blue Jays expect Reyes back Friday in Cleveland
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Reyes still appears on track to re-join the Blue Jays in time for their upcoming weekend series in Cleveland.
Reyes played in an extended spring training game in Florida on Monday and was in the lineup for Class A Dunedin on Tuesday night. He's expected to appear in at least two official rehab games before the Blue Jays re-evaluate his situation.
The All-Star shortstop has been out since he suffered a strained hamstring during his first at-bat of the season on March 31. He's eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, and while that won't be happening it also doesn't appear as though Toronto will have to wait much longer.
"That's the plan right now unless he has a little setback," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Tuesday afternoon. "He'll play [Tuesday and [Wednesday] and then probably travel on Thursday to Cleveland and be ready to go Friday. That's the plan."
Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen also made his first official rehab appearance for Class A Dunedin on Tuesday night. Janssen pitched one scoreless inning and allowed one hit with one strikeout. The timeline for his return isn't as clear as the one for Reyes.
Janssen is expected to need at least two more appearances in the Minors before returning. That would seem to make it unlikely Janssen would join the Blue Jays in Cleveland. A more realistic scenario would see him activated off the DL for Toronto's home game against the Orioles on April 22.
Janssen, 32, has been out since he suffered a strained lower back late in Spring Training. Right-hander Sergio Santos entered play on Tuesday night with four saves during Janssen's absence.
Blue Jays celebrate Jackie Robinson Day
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Blue Jays paid their respect to the memory of Jackie Robinson prior to their Tuesday night game against the Twins.
Under Commissioner Bud Selig's direction in 1997, Robinson's No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute. All uniformed personnel wore that number for the Major League games scheduled throughout the nation on Tuesday night.
The Twins held a pregame ceremony 67 years to the day that Robinson broke the color barrier by playing in his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"This time of year rolls around every year, and I'm always reminded about just the barriers that he broke, for the betterment of all, really, not just in baseball but for all people," Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey said. "So I see him much more as a humanitarian than I do as a baseball player -- even though he was a fantastic baseball player.
"The tentacles of what he did reach into the fabric of our culture in a way that I don't know if it could have otherwise been done. He brought a lot of people together. He opened a lot of people's eyes in a time when it was very hard to do that. It [is] incredible they get to represent him every year on that day."
Major League Baseball has been celebrating Jackie Robinson Day since 2004. To commemorate the anniversary, Minnesota hosted a Celebrate Diversity Day, which featured a lineup of musical and cultural performances.
• Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus was held out of Tuesday night's game vs. the Twins because of a tight hamstring. Rasmus suffered the injury during Sunday afternoon's game vs. the Orioles. He was originally expected to play Tuesday, but manager John Gibbons wanted to give him an additional day of rest especially with temperatures at Target Field hovering around the freezing mark.
"I wanted to give him one more day, cold weather that's a part of it too," Gibbons said. "He should be good to go [Wednesday]."
• With Rasmus out of the lineup, Gibbons decided to go with Jose Bautista as his starter in center field. The Blue Jays don't have a natural center fielder off their bench and the only other legitimate option was Melky Cabrera.
"It's not going to happen very often, we'll just keep [Melky] in left and Jose looks pretty good out there," Gibbons said. "We put him out there the other day. I don't know if there's a definite answer to that, just flip a coin to be honest with you, they all kind of run alike. But Jose looked pretty good out there the other day. Jose is a take charge kind of guy too so he'll keep an eye out there."