CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Right-hander Joe Biagini appears destined for Triple-A Buffalo now that Marcus Stroman has been all but officially cleared to begin the season on time.Stroman was sidelined early in Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation, but he returned to the mound on Saturday and has since been named
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Right-hander Joe Biagini appears destined for Triple-A Buffalo now that Marcus Stroman has been all but officially cleared to begin the season on time.
Stroman was sidelined early in Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation, but he returned to the mound on Saturday and has since been named the Blue Jays' No. 4 starter. He will pitch the series finale against the Yankees during the first week of the regular season and that leaves Biagini without a job.
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There's an outside chance that Biagini could earn a spot in the bullpen, but that seems highly unlikely at this point. A much more realistic scenario would see Biagini optioned to Buffalo to continue his development as a starter and provide additional depth.
"We don't know what the roster is going to look like a week from now," manager John Gibbons said when asked about Biagini being sent down. "It's always a possibility. I talked to him, too. But Joe is going to be a big part of this team for a lot of years. We still have a week left. Knock on wood, nothing happens, but something could happen."
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Stroman is scheduled to start on Wednesday against the Phillies and then either March 26 or 27 against the Cardinals in an exhibition game in Montreal. Technically there's still a chance that Stroman could suffer a setback as he works to build up his pitch count over two final spring outings, but that's not something Gibbons expects to see.
"He's feeling good, no question at all," Gibbons said.
Don't tell Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin that Spring Training doesn't count for anything because he seems to approach these games like the regular season. In the second inning of a 2-0 loss to the Phillies in Tuesday's rain-shortened contest, Martin made a sliding grab into the protective netting in front of the Philadelphia dugout.
The Phillies' coaching staff typically sits behind the standalone netting just outside the dugout. The mobile netting is on the field, in foul territory, but it became an issue when Odubel Herrera hit a popup towards the dugout. Martin made a sliding catch while crashing into the net and breaking it in half.
Adding a little humor to the moment, Martin got his foot caught in the net and took a hard tumble to the ground when he tried to walk away. Thankfully for the Blue Jays, Martin avoided an injury and only had to swallow his pride after some good-natured verbal jabs from his teammates.
"Sometimes you have to deal with a little bit of adversity, I guess," said starter Marco Estrada, who allowed two runs over five innings. "That screen is out there and they're everywhere during Spring Training because coaches want to get a good look at everybody. It was a great play. I didn't think he had a shot at it, especially with the screen being there, but it was awesome."
Right fielder Randal Grichuk went through batting practice at Dunedin Stadium on Tuesday morning and he's tentatively scheduled to start on Wednesday. Grichuk has not appeared in a game since March 9 because of what the club described as a minor rib cage issue. If Grichuk is not ready for the start of the regular season then Teoscar Hernandez is expected to crack the 25-man roster.
"He'll hit on the field," Gibbons said of Grichuk on Tuesday morning. "He hit some in the cage yesterday and looked good. Now he'll go out and do this and if all goes well he'll be in the game tomorrow."
Listen live to an exclusive webcast when Stroman makes his first official start of the spring at 1:07 p.m. ET on Wednesday as the Blue Jays host the Phillies in a Grapefruit League rematch. Stroman tossed two innings in an exhibition game against the Canadian Junior National Team on Saturday, and he is expected to throw upwards of 50 pitches in this outing.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.