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Blue Jays remain on the hunt for pitching

Club eyeing fifth starter, bullpen arms; Stroman wants Opening Day start; Travis nearly ready to go
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- For now, the Blue Jays appear to be set with the position players who will be on the roster for the upcoming season, but a lot of work still has to be done on the pitching staff.

Toronto remains in the market for a fifth starter and additional help in the bullpen. The Blue Jays are believed to have more than $10 million remaining this offseason to plug the remaining holes.

TORONTO -- For now, the Blue Jays appear to be set with the position players who will be on the roster for the upcoming season, but a lot of work still has to be done on the pitching staff.

Toronto remains in the market for a fifth starter and additional help in the bullpen. The Blue Jays are believed to have more than $10 million remaining this offseason to plug the remaining holes.

Right-hander Joe Biagini is currently penciled in for the final spot of the rotation, but he could be shifted to the bullpen as a long reliever. During media availability at Saturday's Winter Fest, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Biagini's best role remains an open question.

"Right now, he's in the rotation, and if they go out and sign somebody, that will definitely change, depending on [Aaron Sanchez], of course," Gibbons said.

Restocking the bullpen became a bigger priority after Toronto traded away middle reliever Dominic Leone as part of Friday's deal for Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk. Leone tossed 71 innings for the Blue Jays last season and spent time as a key setup man alongside Ryan Tepera and Danny Barnes.

• Blue Jays land Grichuk for two arms

Leone's presence will be missed, but the Blue Jays have rookie Carlos Ramirez and Al Alburquerque, recently signed to a Minor League contract, as depth options. There's also possible needs for a second lefty out of the 'pen and a late-inning reliever who can rack up a lot of strikeouts.

Video: TOR@BAL: Ramirez notches his first big league K

"A proven guy who has been successful," Gibbons said, when asked about what type of reliever he would prefer. "We would love a guy who can give you multiple innings; it doesn't happen too often nowadays. But really some guy who can get some strikeouts late in the game, who has been through it, so it's not a tryout-type basis."

Staking his claim
The Blue Jays likely won't announce their Opening Day starter until a couple of weeks before the regular season, but Marcus Stroman already knows who should get the job. Stroman was asked during a question-and-answer session in front of fans at Rogers Centre about who should start Toronto's first game and he was quick to reply: "I think I should have the ball on Opening Day, 100 percent. I'll be ready to face the Yankees."

Video: Stroman has become Mr. Reliable for Blue Jays

Carrera odd man out?
Ezequiel Carrera no longer has a clear path to playing time after the Blue Jays signed outfielder Curtis Granderson and traded for Grichuk, and he likely won't have a spot on the 25-man roster unless someone gets hurt. That has led to plenty of speculation that Carrera could be on the move in the coming weeks. Carrera said he hasn't heard from the Blue Jays about their intentions, but he's trying not to worry about it.

"I haven't talked to anyone yet," Carrera said through an interpreter. "I haven't had a chance to sit with them and talk about it. For my part, I'm just trying to get ready. Trying to get ready for Spring Training. I'm trying to do my best and I think the position will come to them on whether or not I did enough for this year."

Travis almost ready to go
Devon Travis is feeling healthy and expects to be a full participant when Spring Training gets under way next month in Dunedin, Fla. Travis has yet to begin running following last year's surgery on his right knee, but that is expected to change in the very near future.

The 26-year-old is understandably tired of having to constantly talk about his health and he hopes this is finally the year he puts all of it behind him. A career .292/.331/.462 hitter, Travis is projected to be Toronto's leadoff hitter and help carry an offense that desperately needs his bat.

"[When] you get hurt, mentally it's the toughest part," Travis said. "The body ends up coming back over time. It's the mind that's the hardest thing to control. A lot of down time, and when you have a lot of down time you have a lot to think [about]. I love this game, so it's hard not to battle it mentally sometimes.

"I think I'm finally back level headed and I'm just excited. I can't wait until the day I don't have to answer too many questions about my health. I'm just excited to get to that point in my career and I know that can only be controlled by me being out on the field every day."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays