Blue Jays bring up Andy Burns, option Ryan Tepera to Bisons

Toronto Blue Jays' Andy Burns seen here during a spring training game in Montreal in April 2016 . (Paul Chiasson/CP)

The Toronto Blue Jays bolstered their bench Friday, calling up the versatile Andy Burns for his first taste of the big leagues while optioning reliever Ryan Tepera to triple-A.

Burns, who impressed Blue Jays decision makers in spring training, has started games at second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field at triple-A in 2016. The 25-year-old bats from the right side, giving manager John Gibbons an additional option on a bench that also includes Ezequiel Carrera, Darwin Barney and Josh Thole.

“He can play anywhere,” Gibbons said. “We’ll see. I don’t know when he’ll get in (but) we’ll try to get him in as soon as possible. He’s serving a role here.”

Last year, Burns played every defensive position except centre field and catcher for the Bisons while hitting .293 with a .351 on-base percentage and 26 doubles. Burns, an 11th-round pick in the 2011 draft, is now tied for the International League lead with nine doubles.

“Guys that have had him in the past have always liked him,” Gibbons said. “He had a great spring. He’s a ballplayer. He plays the game the right way.”

The Blue Jays recently sent Matt Dominguez back to triple-A, which left Justin Smoak and Edwin Encarnacion as the club’s primary first basemen. The promotion of Burns gives them a third option at a time that they’re days away from playing in a National League park for the first time this year.

Burns has 77 stolen bases in parts of six minor league seasons, including three this year. “He’s not a burner, but he’s not going to clog it up,” Gibbons said.

Tepera allowed two runs in two appearances with the Blue Jays, the most recent of which came in Thursday’s blowout win over the Texas Rangers. By optioning Tepera to Buffalo, the Blue Jays are back to a seven-man bullpen.

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