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Biagini valuable as rotation insurance

Big right-hander thrived as a reliever last year, but injuries may force him to prep as a starter
MLB.com @gregorMLB

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Another year, another spring of uncertainty for Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini.

Biagini allowed one run over three innings while making his second Grapefruit League start in Toronto's 7-1 victory vs. the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon. It was another solid outing, but how long Biagini remains in that starting role is really anyone's guess.

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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Another year, another spring of uncertainty for Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini.

Biagini allowed one run over three innings while making his second Grapefruit League start in Toronto's 7-1 victory vs. the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon. It was another solid outing, but how long Biagini remains in that starting role is really anyone's guess.

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Toronto intends to continue building up Biagini's endurance for at least a couple of more weeks, but after that all bets are off. Biagini remains the emergency backup in case Marcus Stroman's sore right shoulder is not ready for the start of the season, but he's also being considered for the bullpen. This won't be an easy choice.

Video: Stroman talks about his injury diagnosis, shoulder

"We all like him, and we're intrigued about what he can maybe do as a starter, but I know what he can do out of the bullpen," manager John Gibbons said. "If it makes our bullpen stronger, that's the route we'll probably go. If we have some other guys, and we don't need to do that, there are always other options. We need our bullpen to be really good so we'll see where we're at."

This situation sounds simple enough but it might get pretty complicated toward the end of March. If Biagini is going to start the year in the bullpen, he'll need to make at least a couple of spring appearances as a reliever before camp wraps up. That will be easier said than done if Stroman's status remains up in the air as Opening Day approaches.

The safest bet might be continuing to use Biagini as a starter throughout camp, and keeping him in that role for Triple-A Buffalo at the start of the year. If Stroman or another starter goes down, Biagini could easily step into that role while buying a little bit more time for prospects such as Ryan Borucki and Thomas Pannone.

Gibbons' preference seems clear, but it doesn't mean he'll get his way.

"I think he would be very valuable to our bullpen because we've seen him do it," Gibbons said. "But if there are some question marks, I don't know how it's all going to shake out. I thought he was one of the better relievers around in his rookie year."

Siddall moving up
Blue Jays radio broadcaster Joe Siddall is making a full-time move to television. Siddall was announced on Wednesday as the new TV studio analyst for Sportsnet. The former catcher replaces Gregg Zaun in the role, and he will work alongside longtime host Jamie Campbell.

Siddall will make his debut on March 26, and the Sportsnet studio team will also include former Expos outfielder Cliff Floyd, and former Blue Jay Kevin Barker. Siddall had been part of the Blue Jays radio broadcasts since 2014.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I'm truly excited to begin this next chapter in my broadcast career, working alongside Jamie and the entire broadcast team," Siddall said. "As a player, I loved being behind the plate because I was involved in every pitch and every aspect of the game. I try to bring that same perspective and passion to my work as an analyst."

Injury report
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki continues to field ground balls, but there is no timetable for his spring debut. Tulowitzki has been sidelined with a bone spur in his right heel and has yet to resume running. Aledmys Diaz likely would open the year as Toronto's starting shortstop if Tulowitzki does not recover in time.

"When you watch him take his ground balls, he's moving pretty good," Gibbons said. "You really wouldn't notice it. But it's one of those things we figured, 'Let's make sure we do this right instead of jump the gun and have a setback.'"

Osuna cruises
Roberto Osuna made his spring debut on Wednesday, and faced the minimum during his lone inning of work. Osuna struck out the first batter he faced, and then allowed an opposite-field single, before ending the frame with a ground-ball double play. Osuna's low-90s velocity was a concern last spring, but there were some encouraging signs in his debut with a fastball that sat in the range of 94-95 mph. The upper-90s velocity wasn't quite there, but 95 mph is ahead of where he was at this point last year.

Up next
Left-hander J.A. Happ will take the mound when the Blue Jays visit the Pirates on Thursday afternoon in Bradenton, Fla. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. Happ will be making his second start of the spring while Pittsburgh is set to counter with right-hander Nick Kingham. Listen live on an exclusive webcast.

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, Joe Biagini