Blue Jays designate Sierra in roster shakeup

Moises Sierra.

The Toronto Blue Jays gave Moises Sierra the opportunity to convince them that he was worthy of a big league roster spot, but after a month of lacklustre production, they had seen enough. The Blue Jays designated Sierra for assignment Thursday in a roster shakeup that brings Steve Tolleson and Anthony Gose to Toronto and sends Jonathan Diaz back to triple-A Buffalo.

Sierra made the Blue Jays out of spring training because of his ability to provide power from the right side of the plate as a possible complement to designated hitter Adam Lind. Being out of options didn’t hurt, either. But in 35 plate appearances, the 25-year-old collected just two singles and one walk.

“He was really struggling,” manager John Gibbons noted on Baseball Central on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Thursday. Gibbons would like to see the outfielder get regular playing time, which wasn’t going to happen at the big league level.

Sierra will now be available on waivers, but it’s possible he’ll go unclaimed. In that scenario, he’d likely return to triple-A, where he has a .275/.335/.447 batting line with 28 home runs in parts of two seasons.

In Gose the Blue Jays are recalling a player who fits the traditional mold of a fourth outfielder. The 23-year-old has plenty of speed and can play centre field comfortably. Sierra wasn’t viewed as a centre fielder, which meant Jose Bautista had to play centre field when Colby Rasmus needed days off.

Gose was batting .235/.350/.309 in 81 plate appearances at triple-A this year, and in 109 career games at the MLB level, he has a .238/.298/.359 batting line. He joined the Blue Jays in Minnesota for a double-header earlier in the month, appearing in one game.

“You know he’s going to go out there and play great defence for you and we’ll take what offence we can get,” Gibbons said.

Though Melky Cabrera isn’t expected to be sidelined for an extended period, Gose can also play left field for a couple of games while his teammate’s bruised shin heals.

Diaz, a 12th round selection of the Blue Jays in 2006, debuted with the team last month after returning as a minor league free agent over the winter. The 29-year-old appeared in 22 games, playing second base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions. Diaz, who battled for years to reach the big leagues, batted .176 with a .282 on-base percentage with Toronto. Gibbons explained that it simply wasn’t enough offence.

Tolleson was hitting .236/.345/.333 at triple-A Buffalo before getting promoted. The right-handed hitter has considerable minor league experience at second base, shortstop and third base, which gives the Blue Jays another infield option for their upcoming interleague series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Tolleson, 30, has MLB experience with the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles, and could platoon with Chris Getz at second base.

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