DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Dustin McGowan will be out until at least the end of April because of a right foot injury.
McGowan has been sidelined since March 26 after being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. He will not throw for at least the next five-to-seven days and will then need to start building his arm back into game shape once given a clean bill of health.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell estimated that whatever time McGowan ends up missing, before beginning to throw, it will take the same period of days to rehab from the injury.
"Let's say he misses two and a half weeks, he'll need two and a half more weeks to get back to the game status he was in when he came out," Farrell said.
"I would think at a minimum [two rehab starts]. We're certainly not going to rush anything. As I stated the other day, you get any kind of foot or leg injury we don't want that to show up in his shoulder and we'll take every precaution needed."
McGowan was set to start the season as Toronto's No. 5 starter. He returned last September following a three-year absence because of multiple surgeries and proceeded to go 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in 21 innings.
Lind makes his return to Jays lineup
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Adam Lind made his return to the Blue Jays lineup on Sunday afternoon following a five-day absence because of tightness in his lower back.
Lind felt his lower back tighten up prior to Tuesday's game against the Yankees and was held out for the rest of the week.
The 28-year-old was back on the field on Sunday and received two at-bats and played four innings at first base in a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh.
"Right on track for Opening Day," said Lind, who went 0-for-1 with a walk and didn't feel any ill effects from the back problems.
Lind should be ready for the start of the regular season but the Blue Jays will take a cautious approach with him during the early stages of the year and could use the native of Indiana in the DH spot more frequently than last season.
"Probably, and that will just be based on what he might be feeling on a given day," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We want to build in that periodic rest. The one side of that, too, though, is that let's say we get into some cold weather -- and the reason why he's playing first base today -- you have two innings between at-bats you can sit and tighten up.
"So by keeping him active, keeping him in the game, he's going to stay loose. So those are things we'll look to manage."
Lind found himself in the lineup on Sunday hitting in the fifth spot as opposed to cleanup. Edwin Encarnacion received the promotion to No. 4 in the batting order and it's an alignment that Farrell indicated could be used on Opening Day.
Encarnacion is hitting .304 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 20 spring games and Farrell likes the way he has looked at the plate in recent games.
"It's one possibility," Farrell admitted. "The way Edwin's been swinging the bat all spring, he's in a good place, he took some very good swings again [Saturday], we're going to have to stack some right-handers in there somewhere, so that's the configuration at the moment. Again, in Spring Training, we have the benefit of taking a look at different things and this is one of those."
Fifth starter announcement to come Tuesday
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are not expected to announce their fifth starter until just before the club departs for Cleveland on Tuesday.
Right-hander Kyle Drabek and lefty Aaron Laffey are both vying for the final spot in Toronto's starting rotation.
With three off-days in the first 12 days of the regular season, the Blue Jays only require a fifth starter once prior to April 21.
"We'll take every game in Spring Training here to evaluate it," Farrell said of the competition. "I know for a fact there will be more conversation following Tuesday's game with that final decision to be made."
Drabek and Laffey are both scheduled for two innings of work in that final game on Tuesday. The winner of the fifth spot is expected to remain in Dunedin to make another start in a Minor League game while the loser likely will head to Triple-A Las Vegas.
The only confirmed spot on the Blue Jays starting rotation is Ricky Romero, who will start Opening Day in Cleveland on Thursday. He is expected to be followed by Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Henderson Alvarez and then either Drabek or Laffey.
Drabek has allowed five earned runs while striking out 12 in 14 1/3 innings. Laffey has surrendered 12 earned runs in 20 innings including nine in his past 10 frames.
• Outfielder Ben Francisco appeared in an intrasquad game on Sunday morning at the Bobby Mattick Training Center. Francisco was expected to receive five at-bats and play at least a couple of innings in the field.
Francisco has been out since straining his hamstring while running to first base during a game against Tampa Bay on March 23. He will open the season in a reserve role for the Blue Jays and was hitting .188 with two RBIs in 14 games.