Blue Jays’ reliever Schultz working his way back from hip surgery

Jays Manager John Gibbons tells the media that opportunities will be given to replace Loup while he recovers from his elbow injury, plus how important Cecil is to the bullpen after their 4-3 win over Baltimore on Friday.

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Reliever Bo Schultz was expected to have a shot at one of the last spots in the Blue Jays’ bullpen this spring, but he’s been conspicuously absent not only from the pitching schedule, but also from the list posted in the Jays’ clubhouse from which members of the travel squad for road games are selected.

The big righty revealed to Sportsnet that he had his left hip “cleaned up” surgically in the off-season, a procedure from which he continues to recover.

Schultz, who posted a 1.070 WHIP over 43 relief innings as a rookie in 2015, has progressed to the point where he can throw off the mound – he’s had two or three such sessions this month – but he’s not yet able to throw 100 percent.

The Blue Jays don’t expect Schultz to be able to answer the bell for any Grapefruit League games, but he could advance his timetable to be able to make an appearance or two before the end of the spring.  While Schultz said that he’s hopeful to be ready to go on opening day, bullpen coach Dane Johnson suggested his return to the major leagues will likely be closer to May.

Schultz had a great run out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen from mid-June through the end of July. He became one of the most reliable relievers on the club, along with Roberto Osuna and Brett Cecil, until the return of Aaron Sanchez to the ‘pen and the acquisitions of Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins pushed him back into a lower-leverage role.

Schultz got roughed up by the Houston Astros in his second appearance of the season in early June, but from that point on until the end of August, he made 25 appearances and was only scored upon in four of them, posting a 2.19 ERA and 0.865 WHIP over that span while holding opponents to a .172/.230/.320 mark.