NEW YORK -- Kevin Pillar's drought at the plate came to an end on Tuesday night when he recorded the first hit of his Major League career with a single up the middle against New York's Phil Hughes.
The single by Pillar snapped an 0-for-17 skid at the plate which was the longest hitless stretch for any player to start their big league career since Stephen Vogt went a combined 0-for-32 over two seasons in Tampa Bay (2012) and Oakland (2013).
The early slump was one of the main topics of conversation with John Gibbons earlier in the day, and the Blue Jays manager said he wasn't exactly surprised by the slow start.
"It might just be one of those cases where you get that first one out of the way and you can relax a little bit," Gibbons said.
Pillar and fellow outfielder Anthony Gose are expected to receive a lot of playing time in the coming weeks with Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus all currently on the 15-day disabled list with various injuries.
That has opened the door for another wave of young talent, and it's Pillar and Gose who are taking center stage. They will have plenty of opportunities to work through their ups and downs at the plate and in the field knowing that even if there is a mistake or two it's not going to cost them at-bats until the team gets healthy.
Gose also has the ability to be a little more relaxed with the Blue Jays, considering he already has 72 big league games under his belt. The big question surrounding the promising 23-year-old is whether he'll be able to cut down on his strikeouts.
Speed is Gose's biggest weapon, but he can't take advantage of that skill unless he makes contact at the plate. So far, that has proven to be elusive during his brief career, as evidenced by his 71 strikeouts in 201 at-bats. It was a problem even at Triple-A, where Gose struck out 121 times in 106 games.
Toronto's hope is that Gose will make adjustments in the Majors, just like third baseman Brett Lawrie appeared to do recently by turning his season around with a .415 average (27-for-65) in August.
"Over time, I think he'll get better at that, but that's kind of been his M.O.," Gibbons said of Gose's strikeouts. "But the type of player he is, you have to put the ball in play. That's big. He has a little sock in that bat, too -- almost enough to kind of hurt him. But speed guys, they can't be high-strikeout guys."
Bautista lands on DL with bruised left hip
NEW YORK -- Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista was placed on the 15-day disabled list late Tuesday night with a bone bruise in his left hip.
Bautista will be shutdown for the next two weeks before he can be re-evaluated. There is no immediate timetable for his return to the Blue Jays' lineup, but he cannot participate in baseball activities until at least the beginning of September.
Manager John Gibbons originally felt Bautista's injury occurred during the club's recent homestand, but Bautista revealed on Tuesday night that it is something he has been dealing with for approximately two weeks.
"It just kept getting worse and worse, and worse," Bautista said after Toronto's 3-2 loss to the Yankees in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. "It got to the point today that after a day off and taking anti-inflammatories it got to enough pain that I got a little worried.
"The problem is not that it's just a bone bruise, but the spot that it's in. Every time I land my leg, it's in a spot where it hurts every single time. Just taking off or slamming on the breaks, it creates enough pain for me not to be performing up to 60, 70 percent of what I can go at."
Bautista said he couldn't recall the exact moment or game when he sustained the injury, but that it occurred while he was attempting to score. He attempted to play in Game 1 of Toronto's doubleheader on Tuesday, but lasted just three innings before he had to be removed from the game.
The Dominican native was informed that the best treatment for his injury is rest. It's supposedly not something that could eventually require surgery, but it's also an area of the body that doesn't respond well to aggressive treatment.
For now, Bautista will undergo regular therapy and eventually start riding a stationary bike in approximately one week. With less than a month and a half remaining in the season there was some debate about whether Bautista would be able to play again this year, but that's something he attempted to dismiss during a media session.
"I'm not expecting to be shut down," Bautista said. "From what the doctor said, and I have full trust in his diagnosis, after the two weeks he expects the bone bruise to be somewhat healed if not completely, then after that a couple days of baseball action, and I'll be ready to go."
Rajai Davis moved to right field to replace Bautista on Tuesday afternoon, while Anthony Gose entered to play center. Those two will join rookie Kevin Pillar in the outfield until Bautista is able to return to the lineup while a corresponding roster move is expected to be announced on Wednesday afternoon.
"It's an opportunity for guys to make a name in this game," Gibbons said of the additional playing time. "Get an opportunity -- that's how you make it in this business."
Bautista is hitting .259 with 28 homers and 73 RBIs, and he has an .856 on-base plus slugging percentage. In 2012, Bautista's season was cut short after 92 games due to a tendon injury in his left wrist that required surgery.
Izturis day to day with left ankle sprain
NEW YORK -- Blue Jays infielder Maicer Izturis is currently listed as day to day after he sustained a sprained left ankle during Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Yankees.
Izturis sprained his ankle while running to first base after he hit a slow grounder to third during the fifth inning. He remained in the game until the sixth, when he was lifted for veteran Mark DeRosa.
The injury isn't expected to be serious, but it represents yet another blow to a Blue Jays team that is currently reeling because of health-related issues.
"He'll be all right," manager John Gibbons said. "I have no idea [if he can play on Wednesday]."
Izturis was the second Blue Jays player to go down with an injury on Tuesday. Right fielder Jose Bautista left with a bone bruise during Game 1 of the doubleheader and is expected to be out for at least the next two weeks.
Those two players join Toronto's list of walking wounded which now includes the likes of Josh Johnson, Steve Delabar, Brandon Morrow Juan Perez, Dustin McGowan, Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus.
It has been blow after blow over the past several weeks and the frustration has begun to take its toll inside of Toronto's clubhouse.
"I know all guys go through injuries, but this is starting to get a little ridiculous," starter Mark Buehrle said. "Guys are dropping like flies here. But this is why we play the season. I said that in Spring Training, obviously we look good on paper, but we have to go out there and stay healthy and when certain guys go down, you have to have certain guys step in.
"We're in a situation where we're not doing too good right now, a bunch of guys are falling down and getting hurt and we have to have guys fill in."
Izturis is hitting .236 with five homers and 31 RBIs in 106 games. That's just 16 games shy of a career high and the injury isn't expected to keep him out of Toronto's lineup for an extended period of time.
Though not 100 percent, Reyes returns
NEW YORK -- Following a brief two-game absence due to a sore right knee, shortstop Jose Reyes made his return to the Blue Jays' starting lineup in the opener of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Yankees.
Reyes was experiencing discomfort in the knee over the past week, but the pain ultimately reached a point where he needed a period of rest. Reyes sat out the Blue Jays' final two games against the Rays in St. Petersburg and received an extra day of rest on Monday, a scheduled off-day for Toronto.
Reyes started Tuesday's first game, but he was out of the starting lineup for the nightcap, resting in favor of Munenori Kawasaki. Even though Reyes has been cleared to play, the Blue Jays want to make sure they're cautious with their shortstop.
"It's good," Reyes said, late Tuesday morning. "I'm glad I took those two days off. It feels much better today. Hopefully, I'll be able to be good on the field.
"When I slow down running, it bothers me a little bit. Hopefully, I'll be fine today."
Reyes missed 2 1/2 months earlier this season due to a severely sprained left ankle. Even when he returned in late June, the ankle still wasn't fully healed, and Reyes dealt with a noticeable limp at various times during the ensuing weeks.
The 30-year-old Reyes conceded in St. Petersburg that his knee soreness could be related to overcompensating for his bad ankle. Reyes slightly backed off those statements when Toronto arrived in New York, but it's clear that he will have to deal with nagging injuries for the rest of the season.
Although occasional soreness appears to be unavoidable, the last thing Reyes wants to do is miss even more time on the field. He can handle the pain, but it will undoubtedly affect some parts of his game.
"With my ankle, it's tough for me to plant down and put some weight on that leg," Reyes said. "It is what it is. I know the ankle is going to be hurting until the offseason, when I get some rest.
"I want to finish the season healthy and see what happens next year."
Reyes entered play on Tuesday hitting .291 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 56 games this season. He also has a .348 on-base percentage and has recorded 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts.
Nolin, Stroman considered for spot start
NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays are expected to dip into their Minor League system to add another starting pitcher for Saturday's game in Houston.
Toronto is in need of a sixth starter because of Tuesday's doubleheader in New York. Saturday's assignment could be just a spot start, but there's also a possibility it will serve as an audition for a permanent job in September.
The Blue Jays could turn to one of their veteran arms from Triple-A Buffalo, but there's also a strong likelihood that prospects Marcus Stroman and Sean Nolin -- ranked third and fifth, respectively -- will receive consideration.
"We're not sure which way we're going to go, to be honest with you," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Nolin, who was recently promoted to Buffalo, might be the early favorite. The lefty, taken in the sixth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings during his first start for the Bisons and would need to have his next scheduled outing pushed back only one day in order to make that appearance for Toronto.
The 23-year-old Nolin is 8-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 98 innings for Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A. He made a brief appearance for the Blue Jays earlier this season, allowing six runs over 1 1/3 innings.
Since the Blue Jays have already used one of Nolin's options this season, he would be the likely choice if the club is looking for just a spot start. But the lefty is also receiving stiff competition from Stroman, who was taken with Toronto's first-round Draft pick in 2012 and is still with New Hampshire. He appears ready for a shot in the big leagues, however.
Stroman is 8-4 with a 3.22 ERA for the Fisher Cats this season. The right-hander has struck out 109 batters in 95 innings, and he would be pitching on two additional days of rest if he got the call for Saturday's game.
Right-handers Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison also could receive some consideration, but they'll likely need more time while returning from Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers are expected to join the Blue Jays in September, and it's possible that starting jobs could be up for grabs if either Esmil Rogers or Todd Redmond is eventually pulled from the rotation.