04/15/10 11:34 PM ET
Jays acquire Lewis from Giants
Reed optioned to Las Vegas; McGowan shifted to 60-day DL
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
"Fred is now a Blue Jay!!" he wrote.
That brief message went live shortly before Toronto put the finishing touches on its 7-3 victory over the White Sox at Rogers Centre. Inside the Jays' clubhouse, general manager Alex Anthopoulos smiled when asked about Lewis breaking the news before the team had officially announced the trade with the Giants.
"I told him we were going to be announcing it in 20 minutes," Anthopoulos said. "I guess he wanted to announce it first."
In order to land Lewis, the Blue Jays agreed to send cash or a player to be named to the Giants. Outfielder Jeremy Reed was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear room on the active roster, and injured right-hander Dustin McGowan was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to vacate a spot on the 40-man roster.
Manager Cito Gaston and Anthopoulos made it clear that Lewis would serve as a left-handed bat off the bench, providing Toronto with an experienced extra outfielder. The Jays like Lewis' ability with the bat and the fact that he brings an element of speed, but the Jays do not plan on handing him a starting role.
"Currently, we're committed to our outfielders," Anthopoulos said. "Normally, your better bench players are guys that have been everyday players."
Lewis has experience as a leadoff hitter, but the Blue Jays plan on keeping right fielder Jose Bautista in that role. Toronto also views Lewis strictly as a left fielder, which is a job that belongs to Travis Snider for the foreseeable future.
"Right now he's just going to be one of the guys coming off the bench," Gaston said of Lewis. "We'll try to get him in there once in a while, as much as I can."
Lewis, 28, appeared in 122 games for the Giants last year, hitting .277 with a .348 on-base percentage. His best season came in 2008, when he hit at a .282 clip with nine home runs, 21 stolen bases, 25 doubles, 40 RBIs and a .351 OBP over 133 games for San Francisco. Over 326 big league games, he has a .277 average and .355 OBP.
Anthopoulos noted that the Blue Jays had their eye on Lewis at the end of Spring Training, but he was dealing with a strained left oblique muscle that forced him to open the year on the DL. Following a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno, Lewis was activated on Thursday and promptly dealt to Toronto.
"He's a pretty good athlete," Anthopoulos said. "He can run a little bit. He's really just a left fielder in our eyes, but he's someone who we think can be a good left-handed bat off the bench and a guy that, if he's ever thrust into more playing time, at least he's done it before and he's more familiar with that type of role."
The Blue Jays also wanted to make it clear that shifting McGowan to the 60-day DL does not mean the right-hander has suffered a setback. McGowan -- sidelined since July 2008 with right shoulder issues -- made strides in his comeback attempt this spring before being shut down with roughly two weeks left in camp.
Anthopoulos said that McGowan is scheduled to resume a throwing program at the end of this month but that it will take time for the pitcher to build back up. Given McGowan's current routine, Toronto is not sure when he might be ready to join the club.
"Looking at throwing programs," Anthopoulos said, "they start throwing on flat ground, and then you're doing long toss, and you finally progress to get off a mound, and then you're doing [simulated] games and you're getting into rehab outings.
"It's just a paperwork move to clear a 40-man spot. It doesn't change anything. I actually called him earlier today. ... It doesn't change his program at all. It doesn't change his timeline."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.