Delabar optioned by Blue Jays; move shocks reliever

Decision indicates club will use rookies Osuna, Castro in bullpen

Delabar optioned by Blue Jays; move shocks reliever

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- In a surprising move, the Blue Jays optioned right-hander Steve Delabar to Minor League camp on Thursday morning.

Delabar admitted he was shocked by the news and said he was expecting to be with the club on Opening Day. Instead, he'll likely begin the year with Triple-A Buffalo.

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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.

Tolleson's three-run blast powers Blue Jays past Phils

Infielder's homer backs strong start from Sanchez

Tolleson's three-run blast powers Blue Jays past Phils

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- A four-run eighth inning powered the Blue Jays to a 4-1 win over the Phillies on Thursday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

An RBI double by Ryan Goins and a three-run blast by Steve Tolleson in the bottom of the eighth provided Toronto's offense.

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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, Cecil return to action vs. Phils

First baseman, lefty happy to be back after injury-related absences

Encarnacion, Cecil return to action vs. Phils

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- First baseman Edwin Encarnacion and left-hander Brett Cecil made their return to the Blue Jays' lineup in Thursday afternoon's 4-1 win over the Phillies following prolonged absences because of injuries.

Encarnacion, who was out with a sore back, appeared in a pair of Minor League games earlier this week, but Thursday marked his first appearance in Grapefruit League action since March 8. He walked in his first two plate appearances and later hit into a fielder's choice.

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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.

Castro, Osuna likely to make team

With Delabar optioned, young prospects have more opportunity in bullpen

Castro, Osuna likely to make team

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays appear to be going with a full-on youth movement in an attempt to solidify their bullpen.

Prospects Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna are one step closer to officially making the team after Thursday's surprise demotion of right-hander Steve Delabar. Castro had been considered a lock for the past couple of weeks, but one thought had Osuna beginning the year in the Minors as a starter.

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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 unlikely for Opening Day

After left knee surgery, Blue Jays want to make sure outfielder is 100 percent

Saunders unlikely for Opening Day

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are not expecting outfielder Michael Saunders to be ready for Opening Day.

There had been an outside chance that Saunders would be ready to play on April 6 in New York following knee surgery last month to remove 60 percent of the meniscus in his left knee.

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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 play long ball in support of strong Norris

Tolleson, Pillar go deep to back southpaw, who allows one run in six innings

Blue Jays play long ball in support of strong Norris

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A pair of homers paved the way for Toronto on Wednesday, with Steve Tolleson and Kevin Pillar each going deep in the Blue Jays' 5-2 win over the Orioles.

After an early unearned run, Tolleson homered in the third off O's starter Wei-Yin Chen to push the Jays' lead to 2-0. Pillar went deep off Orioles righty Ryan Webb in the sixth, connecting for a two-run shot, and Toronto extended its lead with a sacrifice fly by Ezequiel Carrera in the eighth.

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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. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pillar gets back into swing of things with homer in return

Outfielder embraced unlikely status as comedy star due to oblique injury

Pillar gets back into swing of things with homer in return

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Kevin Pillar received a lot of attention over the past two weeks for the sneeze heard around the world, but he's taken all of the jokes in stride.

Pillar became a bit of a late-night sensation when NBC's Jimmy Fallon cracked a joke about how the Blue Jays outfielder strained his oblique while sneezing. The jabs and criticism from others could have been taken in a bad light, but instead Pillar embraced it all.

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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.

One-time Blue Jays All-Star Buck announces retirement

Played for seven teams in 11 seasons, was AL All-Star in 2010

One-time Blue Jays All-Star Buck announces retirement

Veteran catcher John Buck, who was in Spring Training camp with the Braves, announced his retirement Thursday in order to spend more time with his family.

The 34-year-old played for seven teams in 11 Major League seasons from 2004-14. He appeared in 1,090 games and collected 844 hits.

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

Norris happy with progress of new changeup

Norris happy with progress of new changeup

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Left-hander Daniel Norris has added another changeup to his arsenal of pitches, and the Blue Jays hope it will make him more effective against right-handed hitters.

Norris has always thrown a changeup, but the one he used in the past typically tailed into righties. The one he debuted vs. the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon moves away from right-handers and makes it a little harder for them to hit.

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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 option relievers Jenkins, Schultz to Minors

Blue Jays option relievers Jenkins, Schultz to Minors

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Projections for the Blue Jays' bullpen received some additional clarity on Wednesday when the club optioned right-handers Chad Jenkins and Bo Schultz to the Minor Leagues.

Both pitchers arrived in camp last month with the goal of cracking the Opening Day roster, but in the end they came up just short. It probably didn't help either reliever that options were remaining on their contracts and they could be sent to the Minors without clearing waivers.

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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 could return to lineup this week

Blue Jays slugger has been out with a sore back since March 8

Encarnacion could return to lineup this week

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion is nearing a return to Grapefruit League action.

Encarnacion, dealing with a sore back, was scheduled to play in a Minor League game on Tuesday, manager John Gibbons said. He likely will do the same on Wednesday, and if all goes well, he would play with the big league club on Thursday against the Phillies in Dunedin, Fla.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donaldson displays power stroke vs. Twins

Blue Jays third baseman hits third spring homer; Redmond allows one run

Donaldson displays power stroke vs. Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Torii Hunter connected for his first home run in a Twins uniform since 2007, and Eddie Rosario hit a walk-off single in the ninth inning during Minnesota's 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Hammond Stadium.

Hunter, who re-signed with the Twins this offseason, broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with a three-run shot to left field off Toronto right-hander Chad Jenkins.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Estrada has start pushed back to rest ankle

Estrada has start pushed back to rest ankle

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada, who had been scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Twins, instead had his outing pushed back for a second time.

Estrada originally was going to pitch on Sunday against the Rays, but he was scratched with a sore ankle he tweaked during fielding practice earlier in the week. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Estrada will now start on Saturday, when Toronto splits up to take on the Braves and Pirates.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays weighing options on several roster spots

Decision on second base might not come until end of Spring Training

Blue Jays weighing options on several roster spots

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Blue Jays have some significant decisions to make regarding their Opening Day roster, but some of those calls will not come until the last minute.

"There are some things we have a pretty good idea of right now," manager John Gibbons said on Tuesday. "But yeah, for the most part, to be fair to some of the guys still involved and things like that, there will be a lot of things we won't announce until the end."

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays announce dates for Honda Summer Camps

Blue Jays announce dates for Honda Summer Camps

The Blue Jays announced dates for their Honda Summer Camps and instructional clinics that will run throughout Canada this summer. Camps will take place from June 24 in London, Ontario, through Aug. 19 in Montreal. Clinics begin April 25 and run through July 5.

The camps and clinics, which are run in partnership with Baseball Canada and Little League Baseball Canada, are designed for baseball players ages 8-16. It marks the fifth season in a row that the Blue Jays Baseball Academy will host.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: What will Blue Jays do with Navarro?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers Toronto fans' questions

Inbox: What will Blue Jays do with Navarro?

What do you think is the most likely catcher scenario going into the season?
-- Ted A., Guelph, Ontario

The catching situation depends almost entirely on what the Blue Jays end up doing with Dioner Navarro. It's no secret he has been on the block since Toronto signed Russell Martin, but nothing has come of it. Unless something changes soon, he has to be considered part of the 25-man roster that will open the season on April 6.

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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.

Osuna, Castro showing promise with scoreless spring

Rookie right-handers have combined for 18 2/3 frames with 16 strikeouts

Osuna, Castro showing promise with scoreless spring

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays' young arms took center stage on Sunday afternoon with Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro once again showing that the future could be a bright one for the pitching staff.

The promising duo combined to throw six scoreless innings, which is just the latest development in what has become a trend this spring. To date, they have yet to allow an earned run over 18 2/3 innings while striking out 16 and walking two.

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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.

Gibbons confirms Cecil will start season as closer

Lefty recovering from shoulder injury, expects to be ready for Opening Day

Gibbons confirms Cecil will start season as closer

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons confirmed the obvious on Sunday morning by stating that left-hander Brett Cecil will begin the year as his closer.

Cecil's role has been locked in ever since right-hander Aaron Sanchez was moved to the rotation following a season-ending injury to starter Marcus Stroman, but Sunday marked the first time Gibbons publicly made the declaration.

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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

Bernie Pleskoff

Pleskoff: Blue Jays on the cusp

Norris, Pompey highlight top prospects who could contribute in the bigs this season

Pleskoff: Blue Jays on the cusp

Spring Training will be an outstanding evaluation period for several Blue Jays prospects on the cusp of making the Major League roster. The club has several Major League-ready pitchers and players, including several on their Top 30 Prospects list, who can really make an impact in Toronto this season.

Here are some of those players on the cusp.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rookie arms Osuna, Castro dazzle in shutout

Right-handers combine to toss six innings; Martin goes yard

Rookie arms Osuna, Castro dazzle in shutout

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Russell Martin homered, while Jose Reyes and Devon Travis added a pair of doubles in the Blue Jays' 3-0 victory over the Rays on Sunday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Martin's home run came in the bottom of the sixth inning off left-hander Mike Montgomery. Toronto's other two runs were charged to Rays starter Everett Teaford, who allowed three hits and didn't walk a batter over three innings as he makes a bid for the Rays' rotation.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. 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' status in doubt for Opening Day

Izturis' status in doubt for Opening Day

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Maicer Izturis has been shut down for the next 10 days because of a strained groin. He's unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.

Izturis sustained the injury while fielding a grounder during Friday afternoon's game against Tampa Bay. He was removed in the third inning and later sent for an MRI which revealed the strain.

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Estrada scratched from start with a sore ankle

Estrada scratched from start with a sore ankle

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Marco Estrada was scratched from Sunday afternoon's game against the Rays because of a sore ankle.

Estrada tweaked his ankle while taking pitchers' fielding practice earlier this week. It's nothing major, and Estrada is expected to start on Tuesday afternoon against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

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Toronto sends down backstop Ochinko, outfielder Dickerson

Toronto sends down backstop Ochinko, outfielder Dickerson

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays reassigned catcher Sean Ochinko and outfielder Chris Dickerson to Minor League camp on Sunday in the latest round of cuts.

Toronto has 43 players remaining in the Major League portion of Spring Training. That number includes 21 pitchers, three catchers, 12 infielders and seven outfielders.

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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.

Home runs power Blue Jays as Dickey tosses six

Solo blasts by Reyes, Bautista, Donaldson back righty's strong start

Home runs power Blue Jays as Dickey tosses six

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista each launched first-inning home runs, and Josh Donaldson went deep in the sixth as the Blue Jays beat the Phillies, 6-3, before a sell-out crowd of 9,568 at Bright House Field.

Left-hander Cole Hamels, coming off an outing in which he surrendered five runs on six hits in two innings, settled down after the two early homers. Hamels allowed five hits and struck out five as he threw 72 pitches over 3 2/3 innings.

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

Relationship between Dickey, Martin progressing

Gibbons deciding how to utilize pair during regular season

Relationship between Dickey, Martin progressing

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The relationship between R.A. Dickey and Russell Martin continues to be a work in progress. On Saturday, Martin dropped to his left knee on every pitch in an effort to handle Dickey's elusive knuckleballs.

It worked so well Martin said he will probably continue catching Dickey on one knee from now on.

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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.

Gibbons, Blue Jays working through unanswered questions

As regular season approaches, club making decisions for 'important year'

Gibbons, Blue Jays working through unanswered questions

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- With Opening Day just two weeks away, an unsettling number of critical questions remain unanswered for the Blue Jays in what manager John Gibbons acknowledged Saturday, "is an important year for us."

"There's still a lot of guessing going on," Gibbons admitted after Toronto downed the Phillies, 6-3, with a 13-hit attack that included home runs by Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson.

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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.

Smoak's two blasts back Norris' strong start; Izturis injured

Homers add to lefty's solid 5 2/3 innings; shortstop out with groin strain

Smoak's two blasts back Norris' strong start; Izturis injured

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Blue Jays defeated the Rays, 11-5, on Friday at Charlotte Sports Park.

The Blue Jays jumped on Rays starter Burch Smith in the first. Ezequiel Carrera tripled to right to start the game and scored on Maicer Izturis' single to right. Izturis later scored on first baseman Logan Forsythe's error on a fielder's choice.

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

Norris slows things down to improve command

Lefty satisfied with 5 2/3 innings vs. Rays, hopes to remain poised

Norris slows things down to improve command

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- It might only be Spring Training, but Daniel Norris is showing early signs of being able to learn from one outing and applying that knowledge to his next start.

During his last appearance against the Yankees, Norris got the final results he wanted but wasn't happy with the process. He was rushing, which caused problems with his mechanics and ultimately had a negative impact on his command.

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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.