CLEVELAND -- Jose Bautista made a rare appearance at first base during Thursday's 16-inning marathon against the Indians.
Bautista was pressed into action in the ninth inning after Adam Lind had been lifted for a pinch-runner. John Farrell contemplated moving Edwin Encarnacion from designated hitter to first but that would have resulted in pitchers then needing to bat.
That forced Farrell's hand and Toronto's manager then opted to use Bautista at the position for the first time since 2010.
"The one thing that stood out, in a first and third situation, I went to the mound with a definite bunt situation," Farrell said. "Jose knew all of the bunt plays, all of the responsibilities of everyone on the field even though he's a right fielder, so just that knowledge and that comfort level is comforting."
Bautista has played first base 10 times in his career and although he won't start any games at the position this year Toronto could use a similar late-inning strategy in future games.
Santos walks fine line in season debut
CLEVELAND -- Sergio Santos' first appearance in the Blue Jays uniform was an eventful experience but not because of anything the club's new closer did on the mound.
Santos was called upon to pitch the 16th inning in Toronto's 7-4 victory over the Indians on Thursday evening. The only problem was that when Santos started to make his way out of the bullpen, he realized left-hander Luis Perez was already headed to the mound.
That meant Santos had to return to the bullpen because of a new rule that states if a pitcher crosses the foul line he must face at least one batter.
"He didn't quite interpret that he was done," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Perez, who threw four scoreless innings. "He is always a guy that no matter how much he pitches in a game, he always asks 'Is that it? I want to keep pitching all of the time.'
"We scored the three runs and as soon as the third out was made he was on a dead sprint to the mound, which, he's always the first guy on the field for us. That shouldn't have happened."
Santos did eventually get into the game after Perez retired the first batter of the inning. Perez's confusion, though, meant Santos did not earn a save because he did not record three outs or enter with the tying run in the on-deck circle.
The 28-year-old Santos was able to laugh off the entire experience. In the end it didn't really matter who pitched when because Toronto escaped with a victory in the longest Major League Baseball Opening Day history, but Perez might have to make it up to Santos in another way.
"I just told him he might owe me a dinner if I finish up with 39 or 29 (saves), something like that and I need one more," Santos said with a big grin. "It was a little weird but I'm glad I got in."
Santos returned on Saturday with an outing that wasn't as eventful, but also one that wasn't as effective. Santos left a fastball up in the zone that was sent out of the park by Asdrubal Cabrera and tied the game at 3 in the ninth inning.
Toronto escaped with a 7-4 victory, but Santos still suffered his first blown save in a Blue Jays uniform.
McGowan still sidelined with foot injury
CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Dustin McGowan has yet to resume throwing and there is no immediate timetable for his return to the Major Leagues.
McGowan was shut down late in Spring Training because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He remained at the club's training facility in Dunedin, Fla., and continues to receive treatment.
"Even though the symptoms are gradually declining it's still there and it's not to the point where we are comfortable putting a ball back in his hand," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
McGowan attempted to play catch several days after suffering the foot injury but noticed a change in his arm slot and was immediately shutdown.
Farrell revealed for the first time McGowan also felt some soreness in his shoulder because of the altered angle. That's a major concern for McGowan, who missed more than three years in the big leagues because of multiple shoulder surgeries, but Farrell indicated the discomfort is now gone.
"He felt some soreness in the shoulder as a result of varying the arm slot," Farrell said. "He didn't injure his shoulder but because the symptoms in the heel are still being felt and knowing that he felt that in that game that's why we are being so cautious here."
McGowan was expected to open the season as Toronto's No. 5 starter. The injury caused his timetable to be pushed back to early May and even that now seems optimistic following such a lengthy shutdown.
The native of Savannah, Georgia, will have to build his arm strength back up once deemed fully healthy and likely is looking at a return in mid-to-late May at the very earliest.
"Yeah, I think it has," Farrell said when asked if McGowan's injury has been more of a setback than originally anticipated. "What that means for the date of return is still open ended.
"Every guy is going to recover at their own rate and because of his personal situation his rate of recovery is slower than normal. We have to listen to him and he's going dictate the pace in which we advance things."