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Morales placed on DL with hamstring strain

Lefty Mayza recalled as Blue Jays go with eight-man bullpen
MLB.com @gregorMLB

BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays will be without Kendrys Morales for at least the next 10 days because of a strained right hamstring.

Morales was placed on the disabled list prior to Tuesday night's game against the Orioles. Lefty Tim Mayza was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo as Toronto at least temporarily goes with an eight-man bullpen.

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BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays will be without Kendrys Morales for at least the next 10 days because of a strained right hamstring.

Morales was placed on the disabled list prior to Tuesday night's game against the Orioles. Lefty Tim Mayza was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo as Toronto at least temporarily goes with an eight-man bullpen.

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Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said on Monday that he did not think Morales would require a stint on the DL, but the outlook changed less than 24 hours later. Morales left Monday night's 7-1 victory in the second inning and was later diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain in his right hamstring.

"I wouldn't even think it would last that long, but we felt like we needed to make the move," Gibbons said of the 10-day DL. "Once the 10 days are up, he should be good. He'll start taking BP tomorrow or the next day."

Toronto will miss Morales' power in the lineup, but his injury actually provides the Blue Jays with more versatility on the roster. The bullpen does not have a long reliever, and as a result, this is one of the few clubs in Major League Baseball where an extra reliever should be considered a good thing.

Mayza's presence will allow the Blue Jays to provide more rest to veteran middle relievers Seung Hwan Oh and John Axford. It also should provide more protection for top set-up man Ryan Tepera, and will give the Blue Jays a little bit more insurance in case they have a starter who has an unexpectedly short outing.

The Blue Jays also are expected to rotate several players through the DH spot during Morales' absence. Utilityman Yangervis Solarte got the start there on Tuesday night, but Gibbons also plans to use the vacancy to provide occasional rest for Josh Donaldson while also finding additional at-bats for Steve Pearce.

"I think our bullpen could use a little breather," Gibbons said. "We're covered position player-wise. We have a lot of flexibility."

Mayza made his big league debut last season and finished with a 6.88 ERA over 17 innings. He pitched a lot better than the numbers would indicate, and he was one of the club's final cuts during Spring Training. He provides Gibbons with a second lefty in the 'pen alongside Aaron Loup, but he won't be limited to a specialist's role.

"He almost made the team anyways," Gibbons said of Mayza. "We liked what we saw last year, but the second lefty should definitely help. But we're not going to limit it to one guy, one hitter all the time, because we need to give those other guys a little break too."

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, Tim Mayza, Kendrys Morales