Blue Jays’ Reyes hoping to avoid stint on DL

Jose Reyes is hoping to avoid another sting on the disabled list. (Kathy Willens/AP)

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are giving Jose Reyes until Tuesday before making a decision on whether the shortstop needs a disabled list stint to cope with the cracked rib on his lower left side.

Complicating matters is that Reyes is also dealing with a strained muscle in the same area, and while there’s no risk of further damage to the rib, “what can get worse is the strain I have in the muscle.”

“I have to treat that stuff,” he continued Friday, “because I’ve got swelling there.”

An MRI that occurred Thursday morning according to Reyes, but earlier than that in the recollection of manager John Gibbons, revealed the crack. Coincidentally or not, Ryan Goins was recalled Thursday and Todd Redmond designated for assignment.

Reyes says he injured himself on a check swing the previous Friday in Baltimore, but was able to play through it until Thursday, when he pulled himself from the game after grounding out in his first at-bat, grabbing at his left side on his way up the line.

He had a very good series against the Orioles, going 7-for-12 with two doubles and two RBIs over the three games, but was 2-for-13 during a four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays as things deteriorated.

“I can’t swing the bat,” said Reyes. “Most of my swings were with one hand, because I can’t put a lot of pressure on my swings. That’s not going to get it done.”

Reyes said the only discomfort he experiences with the injury is while batting left-handed – running, fielding and throwing are no problem – and Gibbons suggested that having him play and hit right-handed only was one possibility.

The hope is four days of rest and treatment calm the pain down enough for Reyes to return.

“It’s one of those deals, play with it, play to tolerance,” is what the team’s doctors said of the initial injury, according to Gibbons. “It’s not something they were overly concerned with.”

Reyes isn’t interested in sitting around until he’s fully healed.

“I don’t want to wait until I get 100 per cent because I was playing like that,” he said. “If I’m able to play through it I’m going to do it. I don’t want to be on the DL again, man, that’s a pain in the ass, to be honest.”

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM: Devon Travis moved up from the nine-hole to the leadoff spot in Jose Reyes’ absence.

“The guy is smoking hot, you know?” said John Gibbons.

Travis responded to the promotion by becoming the first Blue Jays rookie to hit a leadoff home run since Russ Adams at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 22, 2004.

Ryan Goins against righties and Steve Tolleson versus lefties will cover for Reyes in the field.

SATURDAY FOR SAUNDERS: Michael Saunders is expected to resume his rehab assignment as the designated hitter for single-A Dunedin on Saturday, said John Gibbons.

The outfielder has missed five straight days since leaving a game last Sunday with tightness in his right hamstring. He had been working his way back from surgery to remove torn meniscus from his left knee.

The plan is for Saunders to play a pair of games at DH before getting some time in the outfield. The earliest he might rejoin the Blue Jays is next Friday in Tampa Bay.

“He could,” said Gibbons. “In the back of our minds, we’d like to get him to (triple-A) Buffalo against a little better competition for a few games.”

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