Morrow remains tentative starter for Sunday
Toronto righty undergoing evaluation in Florida after start pushed back
BOSTON -- The Blue Jays are still taking a wait and see approach when it comes to the status of right-hander Brandon Morrow.
Morrow was originally scheduled to start Friday night's game versus Boston, but was pushed back two days because of spasms in his upper back and neck.
The plan is for Morrow to start the series finale against the Red Sox, but he's in Florida being evaluated and the club won't know more about his status until closer to Sunday.
"He was throwing his bullpen [session] and had muscle spasms in his upper back and the next day it moved up towards his neck," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "Just have to get that out of there."
The Blue Jays can only hope that Morrow will be able to go because there aren't a lot of options at their disposal if he has to be scratched for a second time.
Josh Johnson and J.A. Happ are noticeable absences from the rotation as both are on the 15-day disabled list while left-hander Ricky Romero was optioned to the Minor Leagues after a poor outing on Wednesday versus Tampa Bay.
The intention is that Morrow will be able to take the mound, but there is skepticism that he'll be deemed ready to go. That's a natural reaction after Johnson and Sergio Santos were both said to have minor injuries until they lingered and required stints on the DL.
Morrow indicated on Thursday that he was feeling better, but the club is still taking a precautionary approach. If the discomfort lingers, the Blue Jays won't want to risk it turning into something more severe.
If Morrow does get scratched, Gibbons believes the club will find an internal candidate rather than making a trade this early in the season.
"I'll tell you, [general manager Alex Anthopoulos] never sleeps, he's always looking for different ways to make the team better, so I'm sure he's looking that route as well," Gibbons said. "But it's not easy to do, especially this time of year, teams don't want to give up players because most of them still think they have a shot as well.
"I would be very surprised if we ended up going that route if he couldn't pitch Sunday."
The injury comes at a less than ideal time as Morrow is coming off his best start of the season. He allowed just two runs over eight strong innings against the Mariners.
Morrow is 1-2 with a 4.69 ERA in seven starts this season. He has struck out 34 and walked 17 in 40 1/3 innings as the club's No. 2 starter.
Strained left oblique forces Davis out of game
BOSTON -- Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis was forced from Friday night's game against the Red Sox because of a strained left oblique muscle.
Davis, who started at designated hitter and led off for the Blue Jays, was lifted in the sixth inning for pinch-hitter Adam Lind. He had been experiencing some discomfort in the area since a recent series against the Rays and finally had to pull the plug.
"I felt something for a couple of days," Davis said. "I just felt like it was just little, that I could play through it.
"Just nagging. Just figure it's not progressing like I would want it to."
Davis will be evaluated again on Saturday, and it was not immediately clear if he will require a stint on the disabled list.
The 32-year-old Davis is hitting .281 with a homer and four RBIs in 26 games. He has split time between left field and designated hitter, starting frequently against left-handed pitching.
Jenkins, Nolin close to entering rotation mix
BOSTON -- The Blue Jays have been exposed in the past couple of weeks for having a lack of depth in the rotation, but the positive news is that some new candidates are about to enter the mix.
Double-A New Hampshire starters Chad Jenkins and Sean Nolin recently returned after missing the first month of the year because of injuries.
Jenkins was dealing with a sore shoulder, while Nolin had problems with his groin muscle. Both have one outing under their belts as they begin the process of being stretched out.
Neither is prepared to make the jump to the big leagues right now, but the Blue Jays hope it won't be too long before they can both be considered viable candidates on the depth chart.
"Nolin is someone that just got back to New Hampshire, just saw him throw the other day, and he's just not ready yet," Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "It's his first start back. He's still not sharp. If Sean Nolin ends up getting on a roll, he could definitely end up being a candidate for us.
"Jenkins same thing, he just had a 75-pitch outing. Solid start. Five innings. Probably need to see a few more, but he certainly could be an option as well going forward."
Another candidate that could soon enter the mix is promising right-hander Marcus Stroman. The 22-year-old was taken in the first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, but was suspended during the final month of the year after testing positive for an over-the-counter banned substance.
Stroman is eligible to be reinstated in the Minor Leagues on May 19 and is expected to be inserted into New Hampshire's rotation. His ascension to the big leagues would come quicker as a reliever, but for the time being, the Blue Jays intend to see how he handles a starting role.
"He just threw a four-inning outing in extended, was 91-96 mph, looked outstanding," Anthopoulos said. "We're anxious to get him going, which will be soon."
All three pitchers were considered possibilities to have an impact on the Blue Jays' 25-man roster this year, but because of the various setbacks have yet to play a role.
That has left the club going with various veteran options from Triple-A, including Ramon Ortiz, Aaron Laffey, Dave Bush, Justin Germano and potentially Claudio Vargas.