TORONTO -- The Blue Jays intend to have left-hander Ricky Romero work through his mechanical adjustments in side sessions before actually getting into another game.
Romero was optioned to Class A Dunedin at the end of Spring Training to continue making changes on the mound. Toronto would like to see Romero not throw across his body as much while also maintaining more of a direct line to the plate.
The work is currently being done in bullpen sessions at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. The Dunedin Blue Jays have already started their season, but Romero has yet to get into a game and likely won't until his mechanics become a little more clean.
"Ricky sounded good, and that was the key thing," said manager John Gibbons, who talked with Romero over the weekend. "He was upbeat and positive. Said he was getting some really good work done in the bullpen. We still don't know yet when he's going to get into a game, but I don't think that's too far off."
The hope is that the refined mechanics will lead to better overall command. Romero struggled with his control last season by walking 105 batters in 181 innings, and the issues carried over into this past spring.
Romero conquered this problem before when he solved control issues following a disastrous 2008 season in Double-A. The hope is that he can do it again, and while the walks will never go away completely, it's about limiting the damage whenever possible.
"Pounding the strike zone, that's his No. 1 thing," Gibbons said. "When Ricky throws strikes, he gets outs. He has great life on his ball, but like anything else, you get into that rut and you walk too many guys, you get your back up against the wall, and now a hit and boom, the game's over with or the game gets out of hand.
"At this level, you don't want to give up any freebies, and he was battling that. He may be a guy that's going to walk some guys, I don't know if that will ever disappear, to be honest with you. But if we can cut down on the numbers through some of these mechanical changes, that will solve a lot of these problems."
Bautista gets back into lineup as DH
DETROIT -- Jose Bautista made his return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Tuesday afternoon following a three-game absence because of a twisted right ankle. He went 0-for-4 with three flyouts and a groundout in Toronto's 7-3 loss to Detroit.
Bautista had been hoping to play in Toronto's three-game series against the Red Sox this past weekend, but he was unable to get clearance from the medical staff.
The discomfort in his ankle didn't subside as anticipated, but with the club having an off-day on Monday, Bautista received four days of rest and got the start at designated hitter on Tuesday.
"I feel pretty good," Bautista said prior to the series opener versus Detroit. "I feel good enough to definitely play, and that's why I'm DHing.
"When you first start back, if you have the luxury of having the DH spot, you never know what can happen when you react with a fly ball, you take a break off the bat. Not risking it is smart, and I think I can handle running the bases."
There had been some thought of putting Bautista in the field, but in the end, the Blue Jays opted to take a cautious approach. It's expected to be cold and wet for the three-game series at Comerica Park, and those type of conditions aren't exactly ideal for Bautista's return from injury.
Bautista will remain at DH, though that could change based on how he feels either Wednesday or Thursday. For now, the biggest test will be how Bautista responds to running the bases if and when he's able to get on.
"I haven't run at full speed and I haven't hit the bag or anything like that," Bautista said before the game. "During practice, it was fine. ... By DHing, you just take some of [the impact plays] away. I don't think making turns or running straight has any difference in the way that the ankle feels."
Bautista suffered the ankle injury while attempting to beat out a ground ball during the eighth inning of Toronto's series finale against the Indians on Thursday.
The 32-year-old homered in two of his first three games of the season. He is coming off an injury-shortened season in which he hit .241 with 27 homers and 65 RBIs in 92 games.
No timetable yet for Lawrie's return to Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie has resumed full baseball activities, but there is still no timetable for his return to the big leagues.
Toronto's third baseman is currently on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle. Lawrie was originally supposed to be out for approximately three weeks, but more than a month later, the timing of his return is still very much up in the air.
The encouraging news is that Lawrie's workouts have started to get a little more intense, and now that he has resumed hitting, it should only be a matter of time before he gets into a Minor League game.
"He's doing everything right now, he's just not in any games," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's running, he's throwing, he's swinging the bat, fielding ground balls. He's doing everything he would do here, now it's just, when do we get him into games?
Lawrie suffered the injury while playing in an exhibition game for Team Canada prior to the World Baseball Classic. The hope was that he would be ready for Opening Day, but it became clear that was a completely unrealistic expectation.
Gibbons has admitted the Blue Jays were overly optimistic when originally diagnosing Lawrie's injury. The severity hasn't changed, but the pain lingered a lot longer than expected. Lawrie will still need to appear in a series of Minor League games, because in some ways, he needs to start Spring Training again from scratch.
"We had him moving along there right toward the end of spring, and then we backed him off," Gibbons said. "It wasn't because of a setback, something just didn't feel right. We thought the best thing to do was to be cautious, it's early in the year, so that when he does come back, it's behind him and he won't have to worry about it the rest of the year."