Saunders' diagnosis improves to 5-6 weeks

Outfielder has knee surgery after getting hurt stepping on patch of grass around sprinkler head

Saunders' diagnosis improves to 5-6 weeks

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders underwent left knee surgery on Friday afternoon and he's expected to be out of action for approximately five to six weeks.

Saunders originally was expected to be out until the All-Star break but that was under the assumption that the cartilage could be repaired and not removed. Dr. Steven Mirabello performed the procedure and determined that 60 percent of the meniscus could not be fixed, and as a result it had to be taken out.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bautista excited about additions to clubhouse

All-Star outfielder has high expectations after a busy offseason for Toronto

Bautista excited about additions to clubhouse

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista gave a ringing endorsement to the additions Toronto made during the offseason on Friday afternoon. He suggested that the incoming players are "maybe an uptick or two more competitive than some guys who have been here in the past."

Bautista's comments came on the day the Blue Jays officially opened camp with their first full-squad workout. Grapefruit League games are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, and by the sounds of it, Bautista is expecting big things following the offseason additions of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Anthopoulos sees upside in Johan signing

Anthopoulos sees upside in Johan signing

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays don't expect two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to be ready for the start of the regular season. But he's going to have an opportunity to compete for a starting job in the not-so-distant future.

Toronto signed Santana to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Thursday night. He'll likely arrive in Dunedin late Friday, and will have to undergo a physical before officially joining camp at some point this weekend.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays announce starters for Spring Training games

Blue Jays announce starters for Spring Training games

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker has mapped out the starting pitchers for the club's first five games in Spring Training.

Rookie right-hander Aaron Sanchez will get the start in Toronto's opener of the Grapefruit League season on Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh. He will be followed in the rotation by Marcus Stroman, Daniel Norris, R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Hal Bodley

Blue Jays have the look of a postseason team

Blue Jays have the look of a postseason team

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- At about 1:30 ET on Thursday afternoon Michael Saunders hobbled out of the Blue Jays' clubhouse, his crutches shiny new and the huge brace on his left leg just out of the box.

Saunders, obtained from the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 3 to play left field for the recast Blue Jays, tore the meniscus in his knee jogging after a fly ball in the outfield Wednesday and will be lost until the All-Star break in mid-July.

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Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. Follow him @halbodley on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johan signs Minor League deal with Blue Jays

Johan signs Minor League deal with Blue Jays

Johan Santana is back in baseball as the Blue Jays signed the two-time Cy Young Award winner to a Minor League contract on Thursday.

Santana injured his shoulder in 2013 and hasn't pitched in the Majors since '12.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With Saunders out, left field open to competition

Pillar, Dirks, Carrera, Dickerson in running

With Saunders out, left field open to competition

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays entered Spring Training with competitions at second base, center field, closer and the rotation. They can now add left field to that list.

Starting outfielder Michael Saunders sustained a torn meniscus in his left knee while shagging fly balls Wednesday and is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Encarnacion likely to play more first base than DH

Blue Jays slugger worked on defensive skills, training in offseason

Encarnacion likely to play more first base than DH

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Edwin Encarnacion said he is ready for whatever role the Blue Jays have planned for him, whether it's at first base or in the designated-hitter spot.

Encarnacion reported to Spring Training after undergoing a physical Thursday morning. All position players were required to be in attendance in advance of the first official workout Friday.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After missing '14, Dirks close to resuming baseball activities

After missing '14, Dirks close to resuming baseball activities

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays outfielder Andy Dirks is expected to resume baseball activities in approximately seven to 10 days as he continues to recover from a back injury that kept him out for the 2014 season.

Dirks underwent back surgery last March and also dealt with a hamstring injury that limited him to 14 rehab games. He signed a Minor League contract during the offseason and isn't taking part in big league camp.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martin, Dickey have makings of strong partnership

Blue Jays' battery works together on knuckler for first time, shares mutual respect

Martin, Dickey have makings of strong partnership

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- For the third time in as many years, R.A. Dickey has started Spring Training with a new face behind the plate. Unlike previous seasons, though, there's a sense that this pairing with Russell Martin will actually work.

J.P. Arencibia and Erik Kratz auditioned for the role in the past, but neither has the pedigree of Martin. Dickey threw to the Blue Jays catcher for the first time on Wednesday morning, and after the bullpen session was over, everybody came away saying all of the right things.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Travis aims to take advantage of new opportunity

Acquired from Tigers, Blue Jays prospect thrust into 2B competition after playing OF

Travis aims to take advantage of new opportunity

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Devon Travis is back at his natural position after last year's brief experiment in center field, but this time, it's with a brand-new team and completely different surroundings.

Travis was dealt from Detroit to the Blue Jays during the offseason for center fielder Anthony Gose. The move gave Travis a chance to return to his roots after previously being blocked at second because Ian Kinsler was under a long-term deal with the Tigers.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Izturis aims to prove health, claim second-base job

Coming off a lost season due to knee surgery, Blue Jays infielder ready for intense competition

Izturis aims to prove health, claim second-base job

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Maicer Izturis is back to full health after last year's knee surgery, and he now has his eyes on winning the Blue Jays' starting job at second base.

Izturis was limited to 11 games last season because of a torn ligament in his left knee. He appears to have since made a full recovery and will have the next six weeks to prove the knee is no longer a concern.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cecil throws first 'pen session after recovering from flu

Competing for closer's role, Blue Jays lefty 'looked really good,' according to manager

Cecil throws first 'pen session after recovering from flu

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil threw his first bullpen session on Wednesday morning after missing the previous two days because of the flu.

Cecil caught a rather nasty bug that kept him under the weather for the past 48 hours, but he's on the mend and wasn't showing any ill effects while throwing for the first time this spring.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donaldson brings 'spunk' to Blue Jays' lineup

Third baseman believes playing in Rogers Centre will be a positive for his career

Donaldson brings 'spunk' to Blue Jays' lineup

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Initially, the Blue Jays' campaign to acquire third baseman Josh Donaldson did not involve Brett Lawrie at all.

"Originally I thought Donaldson would play third base and Lawrie would play second," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Tuesday as Donaldson made his Spring Training debut in a Blue Jays uniform.

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Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Anthopoulos expects Blue Jays will deal Navarro

GM understands catcher seeks everyday role, but he wants to get 'good value back'

Anthopoulos expects Blue Jays will deal Navarro

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Alex Anthopoulos said Tuesday he understands why catcher Dioner Navarro wants to be traded, and he actually expects that to happen. But the Blue Jays' general manager also made it clear he expects to "get good value back."

"[Navarro] wants to play every day. We understand that," Anthopoulos said, when he addressed the media outside the Blue Jays' clubhouse for the first time this spring. "And if an everyday job presents itself for him, we think we can get a deal done fast.

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Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Donaldson already proving great fit with Blue Jays

Donaldson already proving great fit with Blue Jays

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Toronto Blue Jays are extremely happy to have Josh Donaldson in their lineup. Donaldson, for his part, is also very happy to be with the Blue Jays.

On the topic of Donaldson being with Toronto, what we have is a virtual festival of happiness at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. With the significant additions of catcher Russell Martin and Donaldson at third base, the Jays have significantly raised their profile and increased their chances in the American League East. This has become Spring Training with glee attached.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Anthopoulos: Filling out Blue Jays rotation first a priority

Anthopoulos: Filling out Blue Jays rotation first a priority

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- General manager Alex Anthopoulos said on Tuesday that Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada and Daniel Norris could all be in the mix for both the Blue Jays' starting rotation and the bullpen this spring.

"Your priority is the starting rotation," the GM said. "You build everything else off that."

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Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martin up for challenge of catching Dickey

Blue Jays' new catcher didn't catch knuckleballer's first 'pen session, but that will change

Martin up for challenge of catching Dickey

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Russell Martin wasn't behind the plate for R.A. Dickey's first bullpen session of the spring on Monday morning, but that is expected to change in the very near future.

Martin has been open about his desire to catch the knuckleballer, and he's about to get that opportunity. The only reason it didn't happen Monday was because Blue Jays manager John Gibbons thought it would be best to avoid that type of responsibility on Day 1.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays plan on using Encarnacion at first base

Veteran slugger will also see time at DH

Blue Jays plan on using Encarnacion at first base

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays appear to have changed their minds about Edwin Encarnacion and will use the veteran slugger at first base instead of primarily in the designated-hitter spot.

Toronto previously indicated that the majority of Encarnacion's at-bats this season would come as a DH. Encarnacion will still get some occasional starts in that role, but manager John Gibbons was quite clear about his role on the first day of official workouts.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seeking playing time, Navarro asked for trade

Backstop interested in catching every day and Martin is starter in Toronto

Seeking playing time, Navarro asked for trade

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Dioner Navarro wants to play on a regular basis, and since that's unlikely to happen in Toronto with Russell Martin around, he would like a change of scenery.

Navarro publicly admitted for the first time on Monday afternoon that he requested a trade "right after" the Blue Jays signed Martin to a five-year contract worth $82 million in November.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Experience gives Martin leg up on learning staff

Experience gives Martin leg up on learning staff

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- When Russell Martin makes his first appearance in a Blue Jays uniform, it will mark the fourth organization he has played for during an impressive nine-year career. So, it's safe to say he knows a thing or two about learning a new pitching staff.

Martin previously might have spent a lot of time during the offseason stressing about how to handle an entirely new staff, but certainly not anymore. He's been there, done that and along the way has picked up a few tricks that should help ease the transition.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cecil ready to prove himself for closer's job

Veteran reliever will likely compete with right-hander Sanchez

Cecil ready to prove himself for closer's job

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The departure of Casey Janssen this winter created an opening at the closer position, and on the first day of Spring Training, left-hander Brett Cecil made it clear that he wants the job.

Cecil enters as a possible favorite, but he is expected to receive some competition from right-hander Aaron Sanchez. Over the next six weeks, the Blue Jays will have to decide not only which pitcher is best suited for the job, but how it will impact the configuration of the bullpen.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays open camp with several spots in play

Second base, center field and relief jobs up for grabs this spring

Blue Jays open camp with several spots in play

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Preparation for the 2015 season is officially underway, as Blue Jays pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training on Sunday morning.

The hurlers and backstops went through their physicals at an off-site location, with the first official workout scheduled for Monday. Position players will report on Thursday, with a full-squad workout scheduled for the following day.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Quick worker Buehrle approves of new pace rules

Quick worker Buehrle approves of new pace rules

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Mark Buehrle is generally regarded as the fastest-working pitcher in baseball, so it should come as no surprise that he's a big fan of the league's decision to increase the pace of game.

Major League Baseball recently announced a series of changes that it hopes will limit the length of games. Managers are now required to issue their challenges from the dugout, hitters will be required to keep at least one foot in the batter's box at all times and innings are required to start promptly after commercial breaks.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays sign Dickerson to Minor League contract

Veteran outfielder given invitation to Spring Training

Blue Jays sign Dickerson to Minor League contract

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays signed veteran outfielder Chris Dickerson to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Saturday afternoon.

Dickerson appeared in 41 games with Cleveland last season and hit .224 with two home runs and six RBIs. He spent the rest of the year in Triple-A Indianapolis where he posted a .309/.407/.479 slash line in 65 games.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jays alumni head to B.C. to teach youth baseball coaches

Jays alumni head to B.C. to teach youth baseball coaches

‎This weekend, 200 young ball players and 250 coaches from across British Columbia are in Langley to learn the tricks of the trade from some great instructors, including two former Blue Jays, Rance Mulliniks and Lloyd Moseby.

Mulliniks and Moseby, along with the likes of Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada Greg Hamilton and former All-Star outfielder Reggie Smith, are in B.C. as part of BC Minor's annual coaches convention.

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Three key questions facing Blue Jays at camp

Club must settle battle in bullpen, at second base and in rotation

Three key questions facing Blue Jays at camp

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will arrive at Spring Training on Sunday to begin the process of answering several key questions about their 25-man roster.

Toronto has aspirations of the postseason, but unlike a lot of the other contenders, its roster is far from set. There are competitions in the rotation, bullpen, second base and perhaps even in center field if Dalton Pompey struggles early.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Saunders excited to hit in Blue Jays' lineup

Saunders excited to hit in Blue Jays' lineup

The Toronto Blue Jays fielded one of the toughest lineups in the American League last season, finishing among the top five in runs scored (723), home runs (177) and batting average (.259).

And new addition Michael Saunders believes the Blue Jays' lineup can be even better in 2015.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.