7/12/2014 1:45 A.M. ET
Blue Jays comfortable with Bautista at first base
By David Adler / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista will continue to play first base for now, although he is healthy enough to play the outfield.
Bautista started at first in Friday's series opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field, and he could play there all series, manager John Gibbons said.
"We may keep Bautista at first these three games, keep him off the turf. But he's good, though -- he's fine to play the outfield," Gibbons said. "Because he's running. He's running on the bases, so he's fine."
Bautista said he could play outfield on the turf at The Trop if needed.
Bautista has been playing first base with Edwin Encarnacion on the disabled list, and while the slugger has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. Gibbons said that he likes his lineup better with Nolan Reimold in right field and Bautista at first -- and that's fine with Bautista.
"I'm more than willing to do whatever is needed," Bautista said. "The team feels like that's the best spot right now, to keep everybody in the best position and the best guys on the field. So be it.
"I was ready to play outfield, but like I said, if first is where I should be right now, that's where I'm gonna be. I'm at the manager's disposal to play any position that he needs me to play, especially with the condition of our team and all the injuries."
Bautista also said that as of Friday, he would definitely be able to play the outfield in the All-Star Game on July 15, where he was elected to start, and that he anticipates returning to right field after the break.
Reimold, Kawasaki exit game with leg injuries
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays lost right fielder Nolan Reimold and second baseman Munenori Kawasaki to leg injuries during Friday's series opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Kawasaki was removed from the game with tightness in his right hamstring before Toronto took the field for the bottom of the seventh inning. He was replaced by Steve Tolleson. Kawasaki is listed as day to day.
Reimold left the game in the top of the fourth inning when he appeared to injure himself running the bases. Reimold pulled up limping while advancing from second to third on Juan Francisco's groundout to the right side.
The Blue Jays called the injury a left calf strain, and Reimold is also day to day.
Reimold had walked to lead off the inning. After the injury, Darin Mastroianni replaced Reimold as a pinch-runner and remained in the game in right field.
The Blue Jays claimed Reimold off waivers from the Orioles on Sunday. The 30-year-old Reimold has dealt with multiple injuries over his career, and he has had surgeries on his neck and Achilles tendon.
Johnson returns to The Trop with Blue Jays
ST. PETERSBURG -- With Adam Lind on the disabled list, the Blue Jays recalled first baseman Dan Johnson from Triple-A Buffalo. Johnson started at designated hitter and was in the eighth spot for Friday's series opener against the Rays, with whom Johnson spent three seasons of his career.
Johnson walked a career-high four times in Toronto's 8-5 win, the last of which led off the ninth inning in a tie game, starting a three-run Blue Jays rally.
"Well, you know, they resulted in runs, which is huge, especially in a tight game like this," Johnson said. "We were fortunate to get big hits in the right times there, and just being on base for them obviously helped the team win."
The last time Johnson played at Tropicana Field, he hit the game-tying pinch-hit home run with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 162 in 2011 -- when the Rays dramatically beat the Yankees in extra innings to make the playoffs on the season's final day.
"It was a memorable one, I'll tell you that," Johnson said. "The most I remember about that home run was when it stayed fair. It was an offspeed pitch away that I hooked down the line, and nine times out of 10, that ball's gonna hook foul. And it stayed fair, and there was this disbelief that it just happened."
The seat at The Trop where Johnson's home run ball landed is now painted white to commemorate the moment.
Rays manager Joe Maddon had a hard time spotting the seat before Friday's game -- he thought the home run had gone farther.
"That's all it went?" Maddon said, laughing, when he eventually spied it. "That's all that mattered. DJ's a big part of Rays lore."
In the Minors this season, Johnson was hitting .248 with a .402 on-base percentage and 17 homers for the Bisons.
Johnson played in Buffalo's game Thursday, which he said threw him off -- he had thought he might get the call when he learned Lind would be going on the DL, but he thought something might have changed when he saw his name in the Bisons' lineup.
Nothing had, though, and on Friday, it was Johnson taking the new spot in the clubhouse of his old stadium.
• The Blue Jays announced Friday that R.A. Dickey would start Sunday's series finale against the Rays -- Toronto's last game before the All-Star Break -- in place of J.A. Happ. Manager John Gibbons said it was because of Dickey's success at Tropicana Field. Because of the Blue Jays' off-day Thursday, Dickey would be pitching on normal rest.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.