Liriano included on Blue Jays' ALCS roster

October 13th, 2016

CLEVELAND -- and are on the Blue Jays' 25-man roster for the American League Championship Series vs. Cleveland, which began Friday night. However, in the bottom of the fifth inning of Game 1 with the game scoreless, Travis was forced to exit due to an apparent injury. He was replaced at second by .

Travis' status was up in the air because of a bone bruise in his right knee, while Liriano is not eligible to return until Saturday's Game 2 (4 p.m. ET on TBS, as well as Sportsnet and RDS in Canada) because of a concussion. Each player went through a full workout on Thursday at Progressive Field before receiving clearance to play.

Toronto will be looking to even the series at a game apiece on Saturday following Friday's 2-0 loss in Game 1.

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Goins, a utility infielder, had been added to the roster in case Travis suffered a setback. Pinch-runner/outfielder also made the roster, while the Blue Jays left off long reliever and first baseman .

"Travis is good to go, but if something comes up, there's no guarantee they would let you replace him, so we had to cover ourselves there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said before the game. "So we chose to keep the extra infielder, which is Goins. He can play some first base, [Jose] Bautista could play some first base if he had to. So that eliminates Smoak, not a lot of pinch-hitting opportunities with this team, anyways."

Liriano is out until Saturday's Game 2, because he must miss seven days as per Major League Baseball's concussion protocol. Typically, when players are removed from the roster during a postseason series -- as Liriano was in the AL Division Series vs. Texas after being hit by a line drive -- they have to sit out the next round as well, but exceptions are made for acute concussions.

That leaves the Blue Jays a man short in Game 1, but the alternative would have been leaving Liriano off the roster entirely. Gibbons did say that Game 3 starter will be available out of the bullpen in Game 1 to serve as Liriano's one-game replacement.

The rest of the bullpen looks pretty similar to the one that was used in the ALDS. Liriano will be joined by , , , , and . The only subtraction was Feldman, who has not pitched since Sept. 20.

"We battled that, if we wanted that extra guy," Gibbons said when asked about going with a seven-man bullpen instead of eight. "I think that's where Liriano can be very important. Even with Liriano, he's feeling great and everything like that, but it was a week ago that he got hit in the head, and you don't know if there's any psychological effects of that. We don't think there will be, hopefully there's not. But he becomes very valuable to us."

Travis' injury forced the club into carrying an extra middle infielder. Smoak, who has been on the active roster all year, became the odd man out.

"It's not easy," Gibbons said of telling Smoak that he would not be on the roster. "But Smoaky's easy, he understands. He probably doesn't like it, but he gets the rationale, I think, behind it. Really, there's no way we could take a chance playing a game with no extra infielders. The fact that Goins can go over there and play first and I'm sure do a fine job, even Bautista, allows you to do that."

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Melvin Upton Jr.