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Drury activated; McKinney moved to Buffalo

@KeeganMatheson
July 26, 2020

The Blue Jays activated infielder Brandon Drury from the 10-day injured list prior to Sunday’s series finale against Tampa Bay, adding another piece to their already deep infield. Drury had been with the club already in St. Petersburg as the Blue Jays assessed his readiness after he was unable to

The Blue Jays activated infielder Brandon Drury from the 10-day injured list prior to Sunday’s series finale against Tampa Bay, adding another piece to their already deep infield.

Drury had been with the club already in St. Petersburg as the Blue Jays assessed his readiness after he was unable to join them in Toronto for Summer Camp. He continued to train in Dunedin, though, putting him in a position to make a quick return to action. In a corresponding move, outfielder Billy McKinney was optioned to the team's alternate training site in Buffalo, N.Y.

This is a pivotal season for Drury, who offered the Blue Jays plenty of positional versatility in 2019 but struggled at the plate, hitting just .218 with a .642 OPS over 120 games. Manager Charlie Montoyo has always loved Drury’s glove, especially at third, but he also rolled out Drury at first base (11 starts) second base (11), shortstop (3), left field (4) and right field (12) last season.

“He can play anywhere, but, I’m telling you, when that guy plays third base, I think he’s one of the best third basemen in the league,” Montoyo said. "I love his defense and that’s why I feel comfortable with our defense today because Drury’s there.”

That being said, Drury still faces some crowded roads to playing time at multiple positions.

Joe Panik and Santiago Espinal already fill similar roles, with Espinal starting the second game of the season on Saturday at third base. Each player could see time all over the diamond, including the outfield, so this could be a situation where Montoyo waits to identify a hot hand early then rides it over the final 40-50 games.

In optioning McKinney, the Blue Jays bring their outfield depth down to five, with Anthony Alford and Derek Fisher now backing up the starting trio of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernández.

Keegan Matheson covers the Blue Jays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @KeeganMatheson.