6/17/2014 11:35 P.M. ET
Anthopoulos confident in signing top Draft picks
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays appear to be closing in on agreements with their top picks from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
Right-hander Jeff Hoffman (No. 9) and catcher Max Pentecost (No. 11) remain unsigned, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos appears confident that will change in the near future.
"They're going very well, we're very optimistic," Anthopoulos said when asked about the state of negotiations. "We feel very confident that they will get done. They're not done yet, but it definitely looks [good]."
Toronto has officially signed six of its 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The only other players who have yet to agree to a deal are left-hander Nick Wells (third round), left-hander Grayson Huffman (sixth round) and outfielder Zack Zehner (seventh round).
Anthopoulos' confidence will come as welcome news to Blue Jays fans. The club was unable to sign its first-round pick in two of the past three years after Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford opted to go to college instead of turning pro.
Rasmus set to return from DL to face Yankees
NEW YORK -- Center fielder Colby Rasmus will make his return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Wednesday night against the Yankees.
Rasmus made his final rehab appearance for Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday and went 0-for-4. He finished with three hits and nine strikeouts in 23 at-bats over the course of six games for the Bisons.
Outfielder Anthony Gose was optioned to Buffalo in order to make room for Rasmus on the 25-man roster. For Gose, it marks the end of a lengthy run that saw him appear in 34 games since May 13.
"Colby's coming back, and that's just the way the team is set up," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said following a 3-1 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night. "I will say, Anthony, through our hot stretch that we had, he was in the middle of everything.
"Whether it was getting the big hit, getting on base, the bunt, defence, we wouldn't be where we're at right now without him, I can guarantee you that. He'll go back down, keep playing. He'll be back."
Rasmus' assignment in Triple-A lasted a little bit longer than most people originally anticipated, but the Blue Jays wanted to make sure he had fully recovered from a strained right hamstring. Toronto had Rasmus play the field in four of the six games he appeared in before receiving clearance to come back.
The 27-year-old hit .222 (30-for-135) with nine homers and 19 RBIs in 37 games prior to going on the 15-day DL.
"Just like in Spring Training, he has been off his legs so long, it's just making sure that he gets his legs," general manager Alex Anthopoulos on Tuesday prior to the official announcement. "Sure, there's a timing component of getting his at-bats, but I remember last year, I don't think he did all that well on his rehab assignment, he came back and hit three or four home runs in a short period.
"It's as much making sure he gets those reps in the outfield, but you're not going to run him three or four days right out of the chute."
Veteran righty Morrow set to begin throwing Friday
TORONTO -- Right-hander Brandon Morrow is scheduled to throw on Friday for the first time since suffering a right index finger injury in early May.
Morrow is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break because of a torn tendon sheath. His hand was immobilized for several weeks, but he has now reached the point where he can have a light catch.
Surgery has yet to be completely ruled out, but the belief is that Morrow will be able to avoid the procedure and instead work his way back through an extensive rehab program.
Morrow had a 1-2 record with a 5.93 ERA in 27 1/3 innings before he went down with the injury. A return in late July would be crucial for the organization, because it would give the club a glance at what he can provide before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.