Overbay, Rios sit with minor injuries
Jays' lineup takes on different look for middle game at Disney
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A pair of Blue Jays were noticeably absent from Wednesday night's starting lineup. Toronto first baseman Lyle Overbay and right fielder Alex Rios both resided on the bench against the Rays, due to health issues.
Overbay was nursing a sore right ankle, stemming from an awkward play at home plate during the second inning of Tuesday's game at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. X-rays performed on Overbay's ailing ankle came back negative. Rios was a late scratch after showing up on Wednesday with a fever and flu-like symptoms.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons wasn't sure if either player could be utilized off Toronto's bench on Wednesday. But the hope is that both Overbay and Rios will be recovered in time to play in the finale of a three-game series against Tampa Bay on Thursday.
"His ankle's banged up from last night," said Gibbons, discussing Overbay's injury prior to Wednesday's game. "He should be fine tomorrow. We just want to get rid of it -- knock it out of there. I don't think it's anything long-term."
On Tuesday night, Overbay sprinted home from second base and caught a spike near the plate as he attempted to slide in for the Jays' first run in the second inning. He scored on the play, but tweaked his ankle in the process. Overbay remained in the game, but said the condition of his foot worsened as the game progressed.
"I tried running on it and it's not the best," Overbay said. "I can swing. I went down there [to the batting cage] and swung, and I felt good swinging. I think the running part might be the [only problem]. From A to B, I'm all right. But if I have to veer off or something [it hurts]."
With Overbay and Rios both out of the lineup, Gibbons was forced to shuffle the batting order some. Matt Stairs manned right field and backup catcher Rod Barajas took Overbay's place at first base. Gibbons also inserted rookie catcher Robinzon Diaz into the No. 8 hole as the designated hitter.
On Monday, Diaz was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse to fill the roster spot previously occupied by Frank Thomas, who was released on Sunday. In 11 games at Triple-A, the 24-year-old Diaz hit .368 with one home run, seven RBIs and a .390 on-base percentage.
Diaz's stint with Toronto figures to be brief, considering recovering third baseman Scott Rolen is due to be activated from the 15-day disabled list sometime in the coming week. Rolen is currently with Class A Dunedin, rehabbing the right middle finger he broke at the end of Spring Training.
With Thomas out of the picture, it's also likely that 24-year-old outfielder Adam Lind will join the Blue Jays in the near future. Lind recently missed a handful of games with a stiff neck, but he's gone 4-for-8 in Syracuse's past two games, upping his average to .379 -- the third-highest mark in the International League.
With those roster moves potentially coming soon, Gibbons wanted to make sure he gave Diaz his first taste of the big leagues.
"He can hit, man. He's always hit," Gibbons said about Diaz. "And, too, you never know how long he's going to be here, so you want to get him some action while he's here. One thing the kid's always done is hit."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.