Smoak, Tolleson make club as roster takes shape

With Opening Day closing in, Blue Jays announce flurry of moves

Smoak, Tolleson make club as roster takes shape

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The moves were coming fast and furious at Blue Jays camp on Tuesday morning as the club inched closer to naming its official 25-man roster.

In addition to Drew Hutchison being named the Opening Day starter, rookies Devon Travis and Dalton Pompey winning starting jobs at second base and center field, plus the release of Dayan Viciedo, there were a series of other developments.

Here's a rundown of the other news that came out of Spring Training on Tuesday:

Justin Smoak made the team and will begin the year as the club's starting first baseman. That decision allows Edwin Encarnacion to open the season as a designated hitter, but it's still likely the veteran slugger will get some occasional time at first.

• The Blue Jays optioned catcher Josh Thole to Triple-A Buffalo, which means Russell Martin will be behind the plate for all of R.A. Dickey's starts. Dioner Navarro assumes the backup role and it's possible he'll also start some games at DH when Encarnacion slides over to first.

Tolleson's solo home run

• Utilityman Steve Tolleson was informed that he has made the team. Tolleson will begin the year as a backup infielder and outfielder and his versatility should be crucial with the club likely starting the season with an eight-man bullpen. The decision to use Tolleson plus eight relievers likely means that Ryan Goins will be optioned to Triple-A Buffalo in the coming days.

Kevin Pillar was named the starting left fielder until Michael Saunders is able to return from a left-knee injury. Saunders has yet to be officially placed on the disabled list, but he has been ruled out for Opening Day. Saunders likely won't be ready until at least the Blue Jays' home opener on April 13 vs. Tampa Bay.

• The Blue Jays have yet to make a final call on their bullpen as general manager Alex Anthopoulos left the door open for possible additions from outside the organization in the coming days. That may put Liam Hendriks' and Todd Redmond's spot into question, but another pitcher who was on the bubble, prospect Roberto Osuna, confirmed via Twitter Tuesday evening that he had made the team.

• Veteran left-hander Jeff Francis was reassigned to Minor League camp. Francis will begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo, but it has yet to be determined whether he'll work out of the bullpen or starting rotation.

"We're not sure yet," Anthopoulos said. "We're still trying to work some of that out right now. We haven't really decided, we know he can do both, that was part of the value. We have time. He's not stretched out to start right now. And that's dependent on if we add anyone else for that rotation in the next week."

• Infielder Munenori Kawasaki also was reassigned to Minor League camp on Tuesday. Kawasaki is expected to begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo and is currently behind Travis, Tolleson and Goins on the club's depth chart at second base.

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.