CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays finally have their leadoff man back in the fold as Jose Reyes is set to make his return on Saturday afternoon.
Reyes was activated from the 15-day disabled list following Friday night's 3-2 win over the Indians. In order to make room on the 25-man roster, Toronto optioned infielder Munenori Kawasaki to the Minor Leagues.
The 30-year-old Reyes had been on the DL since he suffered a strained left hamstring during his first at-bat of the season. He spent the past four days on a rehab assignment in Florida and appeared in two official games with Class A Advanced Dunedin.
"He's going to be good to go," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's coming, he's ready to go and he'll be in there."
Reyes didn't have a hit in six at-bats with Dunedin, but walked three times and scored three runs. The biggest test came in the field and the first few steps out of the batter's box, and in both cases he came away feeling healthy.
The end result of Reyes' injury is that he missed a total of 15 games. He was technically eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, but the fact that Reyes required only a couple of additional days to prepare is very positive news for the Blue Jays, considering hamstring injuries often linger for an extended period of time.
Reyes will have to continue monitoring his legs, and it seems unlikely that he will be a major threat to steal bases at least through the month of April, but the organization claims he'll be playing without limitations. Gibbons confirmed that Reyes will be in the lineup both Saturday and Sunday before the entire team enjoys an off-day on Monday.
"It's big, he's a big part of our team," Gibbons said of Reyes' return. "The other guys have held their own and done a nice job for us. But he's a key part of our offence."
Kawasaki is the odd-man out as the Blue Jays have decided to go with Ryan Goins as their starting second baseman. Jonathan Diaz also remained with the team, as he'll back up the middle infield positions and also potentially see some time in the outfield depending on the situation.
Toronto purchased the contract of Kawasaki from Buffalo on April 13. He appeared in three games with the Blue Jays and played a pivotal role in Friday night's win over the Indians by hitting an RBI single during the seventh inning.
The move wasn't necessarily an easy one to make, but Gibbons said after the game that Kawasaki handled it well.
"Like a pro that he is," Gibbons said. "He said, 'I'm always ready.' It doesn't matter where he's playing, but he belongs in the big leagues and he's a big part of our team. He'll be back, he'll be back."
Blue Jays place Lind on DL, call up Francisco
CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays placed designated hitter Adam Lind on the 15-day disabled list after Friday night's 3-2 win over the Indians because of a sore lower back.
Lind suffered the injury on Tuesday night in Minnesota and was originally considered day to day. The hope was that the Blue Jays could buy some time for Lind's injury to heal, but it became apparent as the week progressed that this wasn't going to be a short-term issue.
The Blue Jays simply couldn't afford to wait any longer because they're already using a three-man bench, and being short another player would have meant serious repercussions for everyone on the 25-man roster. As a result, Toronto purchased the contract of infielder Juan Francisco to provide some additional depth.
"He's making progress, but we need that bat in the lineup to fill that spot," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Our bench is short enough as it is, plus with him being out, it's really short, and Major League club, you have to have all of your options."
Lind will travel to the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Saturday morning. He'll receive treatment there and eventually start resuming baseball activities. Since injuring his back, he has been limited to throwing catch and very casually shagging fly balls.
Toronto will now turn to Francisco to help fill the void. Francisco likely will receive some time at DH, first base and potentially even third if Brett Lawrie needs a day off at some point within the next week and a half.
The 26-year-old Francisco comes with some Major League experience already under his belt. He hit 18 homers last season with the Braves and Brewers and is a career .243 hitter in 298 games. Francisco signed a Minor League contract with Toronto one week into the season and now has an opportunity to make an impact at the next level.
"He's a good hitter, he has some pop," Gibbons said. "Played a little third, first base, that way it will give us a chance to give [Edwin Encarnacion] a little break over there too. Plus he's playing good down there."
Francisco hit .349 with a .429 on-base percentage and a 1.010 OPS in 11 games for Buffalo. He had two home runs, five extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in just 43 at-bats.
Janssen out at least two more weeks
CLEVELAND -- Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen is expected to miss at least two more weeks because of a strained lower back/abdominal muscle.
Janssen appeared to be turning a corner earlier this week when he was sent on a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin. He pitched one inning on Tuesday, but the discomfort lingered and he has been temporarily shut down.
The veteran right-hander is scheduled to rejoin the Blue Jays in Toronto on Monday. He'll continue receiving treatment and will eventually transition to bullpen sessions before going on another rehab assignment.
"He'll have to start that all over again," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He didn't really have much of a Spring Training anyways. ... He hasn't thrown a lot in the last couple of months. I would hope not longer, but I would expect at least two weeks."
Janssen has yet to pitch this season after suffering the injury during an exhibition game in Montreal late in the spring. He previously missed approximately a month of Spring Training because of a sore right shoulder.
Right-hander Sergio Santos will continue to receive most of the save opportunities during Janssen's absence, while left-hander Brett Cecil also remains a possibility as well depending on matchups.