Munenori Kawasaki back in Blue Jays ever-changing lineup
Here we go again. So, let’s start with the good news first.
Munenori Kawasaki is back! The fan favorite was called-up from triple-A Buffalo after infielder Maicer Izturis will most likely need to undergo surgery on a torn ligament in his knee, which would keep him off the field for four to six months, after hearing a ‘pop’ when he tripped over steps in the dugout while in Baltimore.
In Tuesday’s game, the Blue Jays bundled-up to start off a series in chilly Minnesota, and Kawasaki, who played 96 games with the major league club in 2013, was placed in the second slot in the order between sluggers Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista. The infielder was called out for stepping on home plate while attempting a bunt after Cabrera reached base, but he was able to redeem the mistake later in the game with two hits.
Now, it’s time for the bad news.
Adam Lind could soon be looking at a stint on the DL following noticeable back tightness in the fourth inning in Minnesota. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reported that Lind experienced obvious discomfort after the game, walking around gingerly and showing little, if any, movement in his lower back. Although he is currently listed as day-to-day, and the Jays are getting a break after Wednesday’s scheduled game was cancelled due to snow, his long history with chronic back pain is cause for concern. In 2011 and 2012, Lind went through lengthy stints on the DL and missed a total of 52 games due to back soreness that began in a similar fashion to what he describes this time around.
Reports suggest that the club will likely call-up Dan Johnson or Juan Francisco from triple-A to fill the holes in the lineup for now.
Currently, the Blue Jays sit atop the leader board in the notoriously tough AL East with eight wins – yes it’s only mid-April, but to us Jays fans, the number-one spot is a very big deal no matter the timing or how long it lasts. However, if the injury bug continues to make its way around the club, as it has done in the past two years, it will be difficult to stay ahead of the pack if the stars we rely on are in and out of the lineup throughout the course of the summer.
Center fielder Colby Rasmus is another question mark when it comes to health. He experienced a tight hamstring after Sunday’s game in Baltimore and was originally expected to play in Tuesday’s game. Ultimately, he was scratched and given additional time off due to the borderline freezing temperatures at Target Field. It is not considered serious, but that is exactly what was said about Jose Reyes’ hamstring situation coming out of spring training. Although manager John Gibbons has stated Rasmus should be back for Thursday’s double-header, I think it’s safe to wait and see what actually transpires in the outfield.
Reyes is set to make his return on Friday when the Jays begin a series against the Cleveland Indians, and closer Casey Janssen is expected back once he completes at least two more appearances in the minors.
Oh, and J.A. Happ has returned to the bullpen following the completion of a pair of rehab starts in the minors where he overcame a back injury sustained while fighting, and subsequently struggling, for an starting rotation spot.