Blue Jays could fill roster spot with Dominguez

In Colabello's absence, Montero, Burns could also get call to big leagues

Blue Jays could fill roster spot with Dominguez

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have no choice but to move forward without Chris Colabello in their immediate plans after the 32-year-old tested positive for a banned substance. The good thing is they have options.

Colabello was suspended 80 games without pay on Friday for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. He will be out until at least July -- but per league rules, even upon his return, Colabello will not be eligible for the postseason.

Justin Smoak is the biggest beneficiary of Colabello's suspension, as he becomes the everyday guy at first base. Toronto has opted to temporarily carry an extra pitcher on the roster in Colabello's absence, but that is expected to change after Sunday's game vs. Oakland.

Here's a closer look at which player might get the call to join the big league club:

1B/3B Matt Dominguez: Dominguez was the first name Toronto manager John Gibbons mentioned as a possible replacement for Colabello. The 26-year-old has appeared in parts of four seasons in the big leagues and is a former everyday player for the Astros. He combined to hit 37 home runs from 2013-14, but he has not been in the big leagues since. In 15 games this season for Triple-A Buffalo, Dominguez is hitting .302 with four extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. He appears to be the early favorite.

1B/DH Jesus Montero: Montero was added on a waiver claim this spring, and he now becomes an interesting piece that could eventually force his way onto the roster. The former top prospect is a career .253 hitter with a .693 OPS at the big league level and has yet to live up to expectations, but he got off to a strong start in the Minors. In 16 games with Buffalo, he is batting .328 with an .813 OPS. His defense at first base is questionable, but he could start at DH against left-handers with Edwin Encarnacion sliding over to first.

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IF/OF Andy Burns: Burns seems like a longshot to crack the roster, but he would provide a lot of versatility off the bench. He has the ability to play the corner outfield spots, along with third, second and possibly even shortstop in an emergency situation. So far this year, though, Burns has struggled with the bat with just 13 hits in 61 at-bats for Buffalo.

The extra arm: Toronto initially replaced Colabello with left-handed reliever Chad Girodo, and right-hander Drew Hutchison will be promoted to make a spot start Sunday afternoon. After Sunday, Toronto likely will return to a 12-man pitching staff, but Colabello's departure does increase the ability to occasionally go with a short bench in order to reinforce the pitching staff.

This scenario could pop up again later in the season if the Blue Jays need another arm. The suspension also should help Rule 5 pick Joe Biagini stick on the roster, because he is no longer at risk of being cut loose on the days when Toronto needs a fresh pitcher.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.