Final roster decisions expected in coming days

Team left with 37 players in camp after sending down LHP Barnes

Final roster decisions expected in coming days

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are nearing final decisions on the 25-man roster and an official announcement likely will happen within the next few days.

Toronto made another round of cuts Friday afternoon when Kyle Drabek was claimed on waivers by the White Sox and left-hander Scott Barnes was outrighted to the Minor Leagues. That left the club with 37 players in camp: 16 pitches, three catchers, 12 infielders and six outfielders.

The remaining decisions are expected to be made either Saturday or Sunday and needless to say it's a stressful time for players who are considered to be on the bubble.

"We're going to tell them all soon, but this game is all pins and needles," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It's part of the pressure of the game. There's not pressure to win down here like there is during the season and perform, but they deal with that all the time. That's not always a bad thing, but they'll know something within the next few days."

Following the departure of Drabek, Toronto's bullpen is all but officially set. The group of seven is expected to include: Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Miguel Castro, Roberto Osuna, Marco Estrada, Colt Hynes and Todd Redmond. The only other pitcher with an outside shot is veteran lefty Jeff Francis but he appears to be a long shot.

The starting nine likely will include: Jose Reyes, Russell Martin, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, Dioner Navarro, Kevin Pillar, Devon Travis and Dalton Pompey. That leaves four spots on the bench with Justin Smoak, Danny Valencia, Ryan Goins and Steve Tolleson the probable group. Josh Thole also could be in the mix if Toronto opts to carry three catchers.

If all of that comes to pass, then the Blue Jays would have six rookies on their Opening Day roster. That's pretty rare for an organization that has aspirations for the postseason, but Gibbons believes this is a special group.

"The guys who could be on the team, I think they're tough, mentally," Gibbons said. "These [spring] games don't count, it's totally different, but you can see something in their personalities. We don't think if they're on the team they'll fold.

"We think they can handle it mentally and that's a huge part of it. A lot of guys, when they're young and they struggle, they disappear for that reason. The group that's going to make it, we think they're a little different, they're a little ahead of some other ones."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.