TORONTO -- The news on Troy Tulowitzki's injured right foot went from bad to worse on Thursday morning when he was officially placed on the 60-day disabled list.Tulowitzki was examined by a foot specialist on Wednesday afternoon and has been ruled out for at least for the first two months
TORONTO -- The news on Troy Tulowitzki's injured right foot went from bad to worse on Thursday morning when he was officially placed on the 60-day disabled list.
Tulowitzki was examined by a foot specialist on Wednesday afternoon and has been ruled out for at least for the first two months of the season. He was diagnosed with bilateral bone spurs in his right heel after previously dealing with ligament damage in his ankle.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons wasn't able to provide any details about what the diagnosis means for Tulowitzki's long-term future. It's pretty clear the Blue Jays don't know what to expect, and for the immediate future Aledmys Diaz becomes Toronto's starting shortstop while Mpho' Ngoepe takes over utility-infielder duties.
"We'll have to see how the other guys play, that will determine a lot," Gibbons said. "Troy has been big for this team. The injury bug hit him, but I look back to when we picked him up in '15. He had as big of an impact on this team as anybody because he really solidified our defense; we were having some troubles up the middle.
"Even bringing in David Price and a couple of relievers, I think he had the biggest impact because our defense got much better and overall that took the team to a new level. He was one of the best shortstops in the game and you're not going to find a more professional guy."
Remembering an all-time great
The Blue Jays honored one of their all-time greats prior to Thursday's Opening Day game against the Yankees. Toronto officially retired Roy Halladay's No. 32 and placed his name on the club's Level of Excellence. He joins Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar as the only players to have their numbers officially retired by the Blue Jays. Jackie Robinson's No. 42 is retired throughout the Major Leagues.
Halladay's wife, Brandy, and their two sons, Braden and Ryan, were on hand for the ceremony. A star-studded list of former Blue Jays players, including Chris Carpenter, Pat Hentgen, Paul Quantrill, Scott Rolen, Jason Frasor and longtime manager Cito Gaston also took part in the ceremony.
The Blue Jays played a tribute video and then unveiled Halladay's No. 32 on the Level of Excellence. Halladay's spot is down the right-field line, adjacent to Alomar's No. 12. Toronto also unveiled a special Halladay banner that will now permanently hang from the rafters.
"He was a special guy and I'm not just talking about, obviously what he did on the field, he's as good as anybody, but he was a unique guy, too," Gibbons said. "He didn't say a whole lot, in a lot of ways he kept to himself. You're not going to find a harder worker. I've never met a harder worker.
"He was the elite in the game when he was pitching here, so from a manager's standpoint, the biggest decision was whether you take him out or not. That was always a battle. It was never a good feeling walking out to the mound just in case he looked at you like, 'What are you doing?' The one thing about Roy is that he had tremendous respect for the game. He handled everything very professionally whether he agreed with it or not."
Gibbons unveiled a rather unexpected lineup for Toronto's Opening Day game against the Yankees. Devon Travis found himself in the leadoff spot and was followed by Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak. The surprising part came in the cleanup position with veteran left fielder Curtis Granderson hitting fourth.
Granderson spent most of Spring Training batting leadoff. Gibbons frequently denied throughout camp that Granderson was an actual candidate to bat first, but not too many people expected him to be hitting fourth on Opening Day. The clear priority is to get Travis, Donaldson and Smoak as many at-bats this season as possible, and Gibbons wanted a different option hitting in front of Kendrys Morales.
"I like Josh in the No. 2 spot, that's kind of been his home here, he has been really good at it," Gibbons said. "We just wanted to break Smoakie and Mo up a little bit. No scientific reason, I just like the way it looks better. Now, the days when Devon is not in the lineup, Grandy very well could be in that leadoff spot."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.