MLB.com’s Jamie Ross reports that shortstop Jose Reyes is expected to return to the Blue Jays’ lineup on Monday. He hadn’t played since April 27 due to a cracked rib.
In three rehab games with Triple-A Buffalo, Reyes recorded four singles in 13 plate appearances. Prior to the injury, he was batting .250/.266/.300 with seven RBI and three stolen bases.
Ryan Goins had been handling the shortstop position in Reyes’ absence, batting .248/.300/.347 with one home run and 11 RBI. With regular second baseman Devon Travis out, Goins is expected to help out there along with Steve Tolleson.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told John Lott of Canada’s National Post on Sunday that infielder Maicer Izturis will open the 2015 regular season on the 15-day disabled list because of a groin strain.
Izturis suffered the injury in Friday’s Grapefruit League game against the Rays. He had been the favorite for the Blue Jays’ Opening Day second base gig, which will now go to either Ryan Goins, Steve Tolleson, or newcomer Devon Travis.
Travis, acquired from the Tigers in November for outfielder Anthony Gose, batted .298/.358/.460 with 10 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 100 games last season at Double-A Erie. The 24-year-old was rated Detroit’s top prospect by Baseball America just a few days before the team shipped him to Toronto.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe drops the following blurb in his weekly Sunday notes column …
Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies — Right now it doesn’t appear that Utley is going anywhere because he can invoke his 10-5 rights and it looks as if he wants to remain in Philadelphia. But there’s time. And it hasn’t stopped teams such as the Blue Jays and Giants from taking their best shot, and they likely will through the end of the month.
Toronto second basemen — a mix of Steve Tolleson, Brett Lawrie, Munenori Kawasaki, Ryan Goins, and a couple others — have posted a combined .254/.312/.365 batting line this season. And the Giants just got Marco Scutaro back from the disabled list but can’t count on him to play every day and stay healthy.
Utley is hitting .289/.347/.441 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 93 games this season at age 35. “I guess we’d have to see at that point,” he told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki in late June when asked about the possibility of being shopped at the July 31 trade deadline. “But I don’t plan on going anywhere.”
Utley is making $15 million this season, owed $15 million next season, and holds $15 million vesting options for the 2016-2018 campaigns. They vest if he reaches 500 plate appearances in the year previous.
Jeff Samardzija, acquired along with Jason Hammel by the Athletics on Friday, impressed in his first start with his new team. Facing the visiting Blue Jays, the right-hander allowed only one run on four hits and a walk while striking out five en route to a win, cinching a four-game series sweep over the Jays.
Samardzija yielded the lone run in the top of the sixth when the Jays put runners on second and third with one out following a Jose Reyes single and a Munenori Kawasaki double. Melky Cabrera followed up with a run-scoring ground out to second base. That was it. Closer Sean Doolittle gave up a run on a lead-off Steve Tolleson home run in the ninth before wrapping up the save.
Mimicking the Cubs, the Athletics didn’t give Samardzija much run support, scoring once in the second inning and twice in the fourth inning. They scored again in the bottom of the eighth, but Samardzija was not the pitcher of record. Samardzija went 2-7 over 17 starts with the Cubs despite posting a 2.83 ERA because the Cubs averaged a league-low 2.28 runs of support, per ESPN. Combining his time with the Cubs and Sunday’s debut with the Athletics, Samardzija is now 3-7 with a 2.74 ERA and a 108/32 K/BB ratio.
Some bad news here for the first-place Blue Jays.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that second baseman Brett Lawrie suffered a fracture in his right index finger Sunday when he was hit in the second inning by a Johnny Cueto pitch. The severity of the fracture isn’t yet certain, but Lawrie will presumably be sidelined through at least the All-Star break.
Lawrie is batting .244/.299/.419 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 69 games this season for Toronto, who opened play Sunday in Cincinnati with a 1 1/2 game lead over the Yankees in the American League East standings.
Steve Tolleson, a .232/.290/.381 career hitter in the majors, replaced Lawrie in Sunday’s lineup.