OAKLAND, Calif. – The Toronto Blue Jays used the disabled list for the 17th time this season Monday for reliever J.P. Howell, who has tightness in his left shoulder, and selected the contract of left-hander Jeff Beliveau from triple-A Buffalo to cover his absence.
Howell logged a season-high 1.2 innings in Thursday’s 12-2 loss to the New York Yankees and then threw another third of an inning in Saturday’s 7-0 setback. The 34-year-old also hit the DL earlier this season with left shoulder tightness, and he didn’t travel with the team out west.
“He’s hanging a little bit,” said manager John Gibbons.
There’s no timetable for Howell’s return and in the interim, Beliveau provides some length to protect the bullpen as well as another option from the left side to support Aaron Loup.
In 17 games at Buffalo, he’s posted a 3.09 ERA over 32 innings with 14 walks and 44 strikeouts, pitching righties and lefties fairly equally, being used in a number of different roles.
“I’ve done one inning. I’ve done up to three innings. I’ve started a game. A little bit of everything,” he said. “It’s been good to get out there and get the reps and I’ve been feeling good physically. It’s nice to get out there and build up some confidence. … I know they’ve had a big workload, the bullpen has really been getting used, so anything I can do try to get outs the easier the workload on them.”
SANCHEZ THROWS: Aaron Sanchez felt good after playing catch at 90 feet in the outfield Monday afternoon, his first throws of consequence since his last start May 19 at Baltimore when his blister issues resurfaced.
There’s no timetable yet for him to get back on the mound, although it could come soon if his catch sessions in the coming days proceed without issue.
“We’ll give him a couple days of playing catch, make sure he doesn’t irritate it or anything,” said Gibbons. “He’ll need a couple rehab starts, I would think.”
MARTIN IN, TRAVIS OUT: Russell Martin returned to the Blue Jays lineup Monday after missing four games due to a stiff neck, avoiding a second stint on the disabled list.
Catcher Rafael Lopez flew out west just in case Martin wasn’t ready to play but he went through a full pre-game routine without issue. The Blue Jays essentially played their series versus the Yankees without a backup catcher.
“He just woke up one morning and couldn’t move his neck. It doesn’t take much. He couldn’t play baseball with it, I know that,” said Gibbons. “Little by little it’s calmed down. I don’t know if he’s 100 per cent but he feels pretty good.”
Devon Travis, hit on the hand by a Luis Severino pitch Sunday, was out of the lineup. He didn’t even attempt to grip a bat Monday.
“He’s still sore, we knew he wasn’t going to play today. We’ve just got to see how he’s doing,” said Gibbons. “He won’t be grabbing a bat for a couple days, anyway.
“There are a lot of tiny bones in the (hand). I think we got lucky there because it got him good.”