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Back to keep Cooper out of Blue Jays camp

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays first baseman David Cooper is out indefinitely with a back injury, and he will not be reporting to Spring Training this year.

Cooper is set to visit a back specialist in the near future, but there is no timetable for his return; surgery has not yet been ruled out. It appears as though the injury is severe, and it could put his 2013 season into question.

The 26-year-old Cooper injured his back late last August and was unable to return before the end of the season. At the time, it was suggested that the injury resided in his upper back and neck area, but the recent diagnosis is linked to another spot.

"It's a disc in the middle of his back," manager John Gibbons said. "I don't know all the specifics, but it's in a tough area to treat and heal. It's going to be longer than we were hoping. It's serious."

Cooper was not expected to break camp with the Blue Jays this spring but the latest setback still represents a major blow to the club's overall depth.

The native of California appeared in 45 games at the big league level last season, posting a .300 average and a .788 on-base plus slugging percentage. He was set to begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo but would have been the first player called up if either Edwin Encarnacion or Adam Lind sustained an injury.

"He's a good player in the organization -- sooner or later, you'd figure he was going to help us out one way or another," Gibbons said. "You always look at guy's career, too. A guy's back, that threw a wrench in it for him personally now. Hopefully, he heals quickly."