TORONTO — Roberto Osuna will open the season on the 10-day disabled list with a cervical spasm after a stop-and-start spring while Melvin Upton Jr. was released, and Mike Bolsinger designated for assignment as the Toronto Blue Jays finalized their roster Sunday.
The moves mean reliever Ryan Tepera and out of options utility man Ryan Goins open the season with the club while Dominic Leone was recalled from triple-A Buffalo to cover Osuna’s absence. The Blue Jays also purchased the contract of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was in camp on a minor-league deal, to serve as Russell Martin‘s backup.
Osuna pitched in only two major-league spring games after returning from the World Baseball Classic, where he made a pair of appearances for Mexico.
Stiffness in his upper back between the shoulder blades just under the neck sidelined him after the Classic, and it wasn’t clear if he had suffered a recurrence or was still struggling with the same issue as before.
Osuna threw an inning Friday in Montreal after a pair of appearances earlier in the week in Dunedin, where his fastball topped out at 93 m.p.h., a noticeable dip from his norm.
Bolsinger had been in the mix for the final spot in the bullpen and the Blue Jays hope to sneak him through waivers and assign him to Buffalo to offer starting depth.
Tepera has had a strong spring and has the repertoire to pitch in long relief situations and perhaps emerge as a potential leverage option.
Leone impressed similarly during the spring.
Upton, meanwhile, is released after spending only 2 1/2 months with the club. A gifted athlete, he’s been an inconsistent performer and the Blue Jays opted to keep Goins, an elite defender who has struggled at the plate.
The Blue Jays are only on the hook for $1 million of Upton’s salary this year.