Blue Jays shuffle roster to make room for Navarro
ARLINGTON -- The Blue Jays roster shuffle continued on Saturday afternoon as right-hander Neil Wagner was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo in order to make room for catcher Dioner Navarro.
Navarro had been out since Wednesday when he was placed on the bereavement/family medical emergency list. A player is permitted to remain on that list for seven days but Navarro was in the lineup for his club's second game vs. the Rangers.
The decision to demote Wagner was made a little easier by the fact that right-hander Dustin McGowan is headed for the bullpen after spending the first six weeks of the season in the starting rotation.
"A lot of that has to do with McGowan going to the bullpen," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He'll fall into that role that Wags was going to do."
Catcher Erik Kratz is the biggest beneficiary of the decision to send Wagner back to the Minors. Kratz was a candidate to be sent down but instead he'll remain with the club as a third catcher and a possible designated hitter vs left-handed pitching.
The Blue Jays have yet to name a replacement for McGowan in the rotation, which means even after dropping a reliever on Saturday the club has an eight-man bullpen and a four-man starting staff. That roster configuration likely will remain in place until the Blue Jays need a fifth starter on May 24 vs Oakland.
The temporary four-man rotation also means the Blue Jays can carry a traditional four-man bench. That made the decision to keep Kratz on the big club a little bit easier and it will create a lot more roster flexibility for Gibbons.
"The last time we sent him down, early on, [I said] he's a big league player, he's earned that," Gibbons said of Kratz. "He has done some good things for us. He can shut down the running game, he's a threat with the bat, he has a real good idea with the pitching staff and he brings some toughness to him too."