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Veteran Aoki designated for assignment

OF prospects Hernandez, Alford may join Blue Jays when rosters expand Friday
MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made an unexpected roster move before Monday's series opener against the Red Sox, designating outfielder Norichika Aoki for assignment after he went 3-for-4 with a home run Sunday afternoon.

"It wasn't easy," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "The guy's played great for us. We need to keep some extra arms. The way things have been going, we need to keep that extra bullpen arm and then in a few days we expand anyway."

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made an unexpected roster move before Monday's series opener against the Red Sox, designating outfielder Norichika Aoki for assignment after he went 3-for-4 with a home run Sunday afternoon.

"It wasn't easy," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "The guy's played great for us. We need to keep some extra arms. The way things have been going, we need to keep that extra bullpen arm and then in a few days we expand anyway."

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Reliever Leonel Campos was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo in a corresponding move. He'll be joined in Toronto's nine-man bullpen by Tom Koehler, who was slated to start Tuesday, but will now give way to left-hander Brett Anderson. The bullpen did some heavy lifting Sunday when starter Joe Biagini was pulled after 3 2/3 innings.

Aoki played just 12 games with the Blue Jays after being acquired from Houston in the Francisco Liriano deal. The 35-year-old hit .281 with an .888 OPS and three home runs, but with the Blue Jays able to take an early look at their future beginning Friday when rosters expand, there was a chance to open up reps while still getting Aoki a chance elsewhere.

Video: MIN@TOR: Aoki lines an RBI single to center field

"There's probably going to be a few outfielders coming up," Gibbons said. "So even then, there's not going to be much opportunity for playing time."

One of those outfielders is expected to be the man who joined Aoki in the trade to Toronto, Teoscar Hernandez, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Blue Jays' No. 5 prospect. Their No. 3 prospect, Anthony Alford, could also rejoin the outfield in September after his brief debut earlier this season ended in a broken left hamate bone.

Rotation change

With Koehler shifting to the bullpen, the Blue Jays will start Anderson on Tuesday night against Red Sox ace Chris Sale. A corresponding move on the 25-man roster will come when Anderson is officially selected from Buffalo.

In two Triple-A starts, Anderson has allowed just one earned run on four hits. In his last outing, Anderson threw 71 pitches, so he may be working on a pitch count.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Toronto Blue Jays, Norichika Aoki