Cecil, Jeffress make Blue Jays' Opening Day roster

Cecil, Jeffress make Blue Jays' Opening Day roster

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Relievers Brett Cecil and Jeremy Jeffress were informed on Wednesday morning that they have made the Blue Jays' Opening Day roster.

Cecil and Jeffress entered camp competing for one spot in the bullpen, but the club has opted to start the year with eight relievers now that third baseman Brett Lawrie will begin the season on the disabled list.

Both relievers were informed of Toronto's decision during individual meetings with pitching coach Pete Walker and manager John Gibbons.

"When I was in there and they told me I was on the team, it wasn't a sigh of relief, it just made me want to work that much harder," Cecil said. "To be told that I was on a big league team that's got a good chance to be in the playoffs, a good chance to be in the World Series, is pretty awesome.

"It just pumped me up even more to work harder in my workouts, work harder in my 'pens, and have a lot more conviction during the game, the better to make sure I stay here."

Even though the 25-man roster is set, the competition between Cecil and Jeffress is far from over. When Lawrie returns from a strained right oblique muscle, the Blue Jays are expected to carry only seven relievers.

That likely will result in either Cecil or Jeffress being cut from the team. Both relievers are currently out of options on their contract and cannot be sent to the Minors without first clearing waivers. The battle will continue, but for now the Blue Jays have at least bought themselves some extra time.

"Going in, they could both pitch any time," Gibbons said. "It gives us an extra arm. They get a chance to show us what they can do. You never know how this game works out, but I believe there's some guys who aren't too far off being ready to go, either. Everybody who's in that bullpen has got to be productive."

Even though the 25-man roster has yet to be officially announced, Toronto has decided which players will head north barring any last-minute injuries. In addition to Cecil and Jeffress, the bullpen will include Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver, Steve Delabar, Esmil Rogers and Aaron Loup.

The starting rotation features R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and J.A. Happ. Toronto will, at least temporarily, go with a three-man bench that includes utility man Mark DeRosa, outfielder Rajai Davis and veteran catcher Henry Blanco.

The starting nine is set to feature Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, J.P. Arencibia, Colby Rasmus, Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. 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.