4/19/2014 7:10 P.M. ET
Reyes off disabled list, back at leadoff spot
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Jose Reyes returned to his familiar spot at the top of Toronto's lineup for Saturday afternoon's game against the Indians.
Reyes was activated from the 15-day disabled list following Friday night's 3-2 victory over Cleveland, and he went 1-for-5 with an RBI single on Saturday. He received clearance to play following a brief rehab assignment with Class A Dunedin and missed a total of 16 games.
The addition of Reyes is welcome news for a team that has been struggling offensively and needs someone to join Melky Cabrera as a consistent threat to reach base in front of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
"Real happy just to be back with my teammates, see my guys, real happy to be on the field and do what I do, just play baseball," said Reyes, who was out with a strained hamstring.
Reyes played one game at extended spring training and then made two appearances with Dunedin. He received six official at-bats in the Minor Leagues and went hitless, but he walked three times and scored three runs.
That's not exactly a heavy workload, but Reyes has been down this road before. Last season, he missed 66 games due to a severely sprained ankle, and he needed just seven rehab appearances before getting back into the lineup.
This year, Reyes went through a full Spring Training before getting injured during his first at-bat of the season. He missed just over two weeks of action, and while it might take a little while to get his timing at the plate, Reyes doesn't think it's going to be an issue.
"Last year when I injured my ankle, I spent like two months without playing a baseball game," said Reyes, who hit .296 with a .353 on-base percentage last season. "How many at-bats did I take when I went to rehab? I don't think I played more than six or seven games. This one, I only missed like two weeks I think. If my timing is not ready, I'll get it done here. I know what I need to do to get on track."
The hamstring injuries have been a constant concern for Reyes throughout the course of his career. His issues date back to 2004, and prior to this year, most recently popped up during his time with the Marlins in '12. But this marked the first time he required a stint on the DL for that type of injury since '11.
Reyes said there really isn't anything else that can be done to strengthen or monitor his hamstrings, because it's already been a major focus of his workout routine. He'll likely tone things down on the basepaths for the immediate future, but for the most part, he will be playing without limitations.
"All those years, I did a lot of different stuff to take care of my hammy," Reyes said. "Sometimes when you pull a hammy, it just happens, it's part of the game; it can happen to anybody. I do a lot of stretches and I always do what's best for my hammy.
"With the trainer, we always have a good routine going, but when that happens, it just happens. There's nothing you can do about it. I just want to play baseball without thinking about it."
Francisco to see regular playing time at first, DH
CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays added a little bit of power to their lineup by purchasing the contract of Juan Francisco from Triple-A Buffalo prior to Saturday afternoon's game against the Indians.
Francisco is expected to see regular playing time at designated hitter and first base while veteran Adam Lind is on the 15-day disabled list with a sore lower back. The 26-year-old Francisco signed a Minor League contract with the Blue Jays during the first week of the regular season after being cut from the Brewers late in camp.
The 26-year-old Francisco hit 18 home runs in 348 at-bats with Milwaukee and Atlanta last season, and he is a career .243 hitter over the course of five Major League seasons.
"Francisco can hit a little bit," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He has some juice in that bat, so hopefully he can add something while Lindy is out."
Francisco likely will get some time off against left-handed pitching, but for the most part will be in the lineup every day. He's expected to start at first base on Sunday afternoon to give Encarnacion a day off from the field, and he also could see some time at third base if Brett Lawrie needs a day off.
Even though Francisco is still relatively young, he has bounced around the Major Leagues quite a bit. In addition to his time with the Braves and Brewers, he also spent three years with the Reds, but has yet to find a permanent home.
Francisco's starting role with the Blue Jays will be relatively short-lived, as Lind is expected to return in early May.
"For guys to make it in the big leagues and establish themselves, there has to be opportunities," Gibbons said. "I know he's had some opportunities but it has to be the right organization, they have to like you, they have to throw you out there no matter what. But he has some talent; hopefully it shows up."