Help on the way? 4 Blue Jays working back

Toronto could soon bolster 25-man roster with under-the-radar reinforcements

May 23rd, 2016
Devon Travis could provide a boost to the Blue Jays' offense once he returns to the big league club. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

The Blue Jays have something to build on after taking three of four from the Twins, but there is still work to do to get back into the American League East race. Toronto entered Monday six games back of first place and two games under .500, sitting last after heightened expectations for a repeat atop the division.

The good news is that reinforcements are on the way to give the 25-man roster a boost. Here's a look at which injured players could be rejoining the Blue Jays in the near future.

1. Devon Travis, 2B

It's no longer a question of if Travis will join the big league club, but when. He's currently on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo, and the early returns have been promising. Travis has 10 hits -- including four doubles -- in 33 at-bats between Buffalo and Class A Advanced Dunedin.

The Blue Jays have a glaring need for more offense, but Travis is essentially still going through his own Spring Training, and some patience is required to make sure the transition back to the big leagues is smooth. That would seem to rule out a callup for Tuesday's series opener in New York; manager John Gibbons recently said it was "unlikely" Travis would make an appearance against the Yankees.

Even so, if Travis continues to play well, he likely shouldn't need more than another week of Minor League at-bats. This will be an important step for an organization that is getting a .222 average and a .588 OPS from its second basemen, which ranks last in the AL. With the other bats struggling, Toronto can't afford to maintain the status quo for much longer.

2. Aaron Loup, LHP

Loup is coming off a rough season, but he has been a valuable reliever since 2012 when used in a proper role. And the reality is that the Blue Jays desperately need a couple of reliable bullpen arms.

With fellow lefty Brett Cecil out for at least the next three weeks, Chad Girodo has taken over high-leverage situations. Girodo has done just fine in that role, but the club needs a second left-hander in the 'pen. That's where Loup would come into play.

Loup made three appearances for Dunedin, and over the weekend, he received a promotion to Buffalo, where he retired three of the four batters he faced. Loup will need at least another appearance or two for the Bisons, but it's possible he could return this weekend against the Red Sox. When the time comes, switch-pitcher Pat Venditte likely will be optioned to the Minors to make room for Loup.

3. Franklin Morales, LHP

Morales initially went on the disabled list with left shoulder fatigue, but he has yet to show much progress. Once he starts throwing off a mound with full intensity and begins a rehab assignment, it shouldn't take long for him to get ready. Morales will eventually battle Loup for a spot on the active roster.

4. Bo Schultz, RHP

Schultz recently completed his rehab assignment from offseason hip surgery and was optioned to the Minors. There is not an obvious spot for him on the 25-man roster, but an injury or an overworked bullpen could change the landscape. And Roberto Osuna and Joe Biagini have been Toronto's only consistently reliable relievers, so it might not be long before Schultz receives a chance to see what he can do in a middle-relief role.