TORONTO – Steve Tolleson re-signed with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday morning and was in the lineup at shortstop for triple-A Buffalo after a convoluted trip through the baseball transaction process designed to speed his return to the majors.
The versatile infielder was designated for assignment April 25, when Michael Saunders was activated from the disabled list, and cleared waivers Tuesday.
Initial word was that Tolleson would head to Buffalo on outright assignment, even though as a player whose contract had already been assigned outright once in his career, he had the right to elect free agency. But a player’s decision doesn’t take effect until 24 hours after official notice from the club, allowing him to elect free agency instead.
By re-signing with the Blue Jays as a free agent, he’s able to avoid the 10-day stay in the minors that would have been required had he accepted the outright assignment.
The Blue Jays are looking to add another middle infielder soon, perhaps as soon as Friday’s series opener against the visiting Boston Red Sox when left-hander Wade Miley is scheduled to start. They played games Tuesday and Wednesday without a backup infielder because they optioned Jonathan Diaz to make room for outfielder Chris Colabello.
Tolleson, a right-handed batter who can play second base, shortstop as well as the outfield, fits their current needs, especially while the left-handed hitting Ryan Goins covers for Jose Reyes, who’s on the disabled list.
In 116 games over the past two seasons with the Blue Jays, Tolleson has hit .249/.303/.373 with three homers and 18 RBIs. He hasn’t seen game action since going 0-for-4 on April 24 at Tampa Bay.