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Stairs forced out of lineup with stiff neck

Stairs out of the lineup with stiff neck

TORONTO -- That pesky injury bug keeps nipping the Blue Jays. On Thursday, Matt Stairs was the latest victim, though his ailment isn't expected to keep Toronto's designated hitter out of action long.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that Stairs showed up to Rogers Centre with a stiff neck, forcing Toronto's leader in home runs out of the lineup for the finale of a three-game set with the Angels. Utility man Joe Inglett filled in as the DH on Thursday, slotting into the ninth spot of the batting order.

Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald was sporting a wrap on his sprained right ankle Thursday, when he ran through various baseball activities to test his recovering foot. McDonald said the tape was to help provide stability for lateral movements, which have been the most troublesome part of his workouts since injuring the ankle on May 6.

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Thursday marked the first day that McDonald would've been eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list, but more time is required for him to return to full strength. McDonald is hoping to be able to head out on a Minor League rehab assignment within the next few days.

"I've been able to plant and jog, but I haven't been able to go full speed," McDonald said. "I wanted to get back as quickly as possible. I think it's been a little slower than I anticipated, but maybe not slower than our trainers anticipated."

Shortstop David Eckstein, who is on the 15-day DL with a strained right hip flexor, was scheduled to make a rehab appearance with Class A Dunedin on Thursday. Eckstein -- also injured on May 6 -- sat out the past two days after experiencing some minor soreness after playing in a game with Dunedin on Monday.

Barring any setbacks, Eckstein could potentially rejoin the Jays within the next few days. Gibbons added that outfielder Kevin Mench, who bruised his right knee after colliding into a wall in Toronto's game against the Phillies on Friday, was available off the bench, if needed.

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

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