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Tulo should be ready for camp after bone spur

Shortstop feeling good after rehabbing foot injuries; Biagini throws first bullpen session
MLB.com @gregorMLB

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- It turns out that Troy Tulowitzki was rehabbing more than a severely sprained right ankle this offseason. He also had a bone spur in one of his heels.

Toronto manager John Gibbons revealed the latest news when he was asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tulowitzki would be ready for the start of camp. Gibbons doesn't believe the previous injury will have a major impact on Spring Training, and the expectation remains that Tulowitzki will be ready to start the year. Position players are set to report on Sunday.

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- It turns out that Troy Tulowitzki was rehabbing more than a severely sprained right ankle this offseason. He also had a bone spur in one of his heels.

Toronto manager John Gibbons revealed the latest news when he was asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tulowitzki would be ready for the start of camp. Gibbons doesn't believe the previous injury will have a major impact on Spring Training, and the expectation remains that Tulowitzki will be ready to start the year. Position players are set to report on Sunday.

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"The ankle feels fine," said Gibbons, who did not specify which heel had been causing problems. "He had a little bone spur in his heel that was aggravating him, but he should be good to go when he gets here. ... I think he has had it a bit before, but it flared up on him. No big deal. He should be fine."

Tulowitzki has not appeared in more than 131 games in a season since 2011, because of a wide variety of injuries. Since joining the Blue Jays in '15, he has been on the disabled list with a strained right quad, a strained right hamstring and sprained right ankle. He also missed time in September '15 because of a cracked left shoulder blade, and in '16, he sustained a minor fracture in his right thumb.

Video: TOR@NYY: Biagini whiffs Headley in the 1st inning

All eyes on Biagini

Right-hander Joe Biagini threw his first official bullpen session of the spring on Wednesday morning with pitching coach Pete Walker and Gibbons closely monitoring each pitch. Toronto wants Biagini to pick up his tempo and not wait as long between pitches.

Whenever Biagini got himself into trouble last year, his pace started to slow down. That can take a toll on the defense, but it also stops Biagini from finding a suitable rhythm. It worked out of the bullpen, but not so much as a starter, with Biagini struggling to a 5.73 ERA over 18 outings.

"Joey is trying to clean up some things," Gibbons said. "Not just because the league is looking at time clocks or anything, but I think it would help, speed him up, helps his rhythm, helps his strike-throwing and all of that stuff. You really started to notice it as a starter when he was out there for more than one or two innings."

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Biagini is tentatively slotted into the No. 5 spot of the rotation, but Toronto is still expected to add another starter before Opening Day. That would then allow the Blue Jays to either place Biagini in the bullpen or allow him to continue developing as a starter in the Minors. Gibbons appears to have a clear preference between the two.

"If he's not a starter, I think he is very valuable to us coming out of that 'pen," Gibbons said. "Especially when [Dominic] Leone is not here. That's a hole to fill, and Biagini has shown us that he can do that."

Video: OAK@MIA: Axford escapes a bases-loaded jam with a DP

Get the popcorn ready

John Axford has become famous over the years for his annual Academy Awards predictions. The movie fanatic went a perfect 18-for-18 in his predictions for the 2014 Oscars, and last year, he went 19-for-24. Axford will be looking for similar results this spring, but before any of that can happen, he has some homework to do.

Axford conceded he has yet to see any of the movies nominated for major awards, but that should change soon. The 34-year-old has already purchased "Lady Bird," and he intends to spend a lot of his downtime in Spring Training brushing up on all the movies he missed.

"Very disappointing for everybody, I was home earlier last year because I was released, and in all honesty, I didn't want to pick up with another team, I just wanted the time off," Axford said. "So I got home in early September, and I did not go to a movie theatre once in September, October, November, December, January and now February.

"I didn't go to a single movie, and I don't know why. I just haven't seen a single one. So I'm going to use Spring Training for that. You work all morning and afternoon, and at night, I'm just going to go watch all the movies. I'm still going to [make the predictions]."

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, John Axford, Joe Biagini, Troy Tulowitzki