Gibbons praises versatile Burns' addition

Tulowitzki being given day off in opener against Dodgers

Gibbons praises versatile Burns' addition

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays added versatility to their bench on Friday afternoon by promoting utility man Andy Burns and optioning right-hander Ryan Tepera to Triple-A Buffalo.

Burns had his contract selected from Buffalo and was added to the 25-man roster prior to Friday night's game against the Dodgers. He has the ability to play all four infield positions and the corner-outfield spots.

The 25-year-old is ranked Toronto's No. 22 prospect by MLBPipeline.com. He appeared in 27 games for Buffalo and hit .250 with a .311 on-base percentage and 11 extra-base hits.

"He can play anywhere," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's really the one guy we had in the system, at the upper levels, that we can do that with really. I don't know when he'll get in. We'll try to get him in as soon as possible, but he'll serve a role here.

"He has played everywhere down there. They were getting him used to it a little bit. He can hit, he has always hit. He got off to a slow start down there, but he was picking it up and swinging it pretty good."

Toronto went with an eight-man bullpen earlier this week to give its relievers some additional rest. Tepera made two appearances for the Blue Jays this season, with the last outing coming in Thursday's 12-2 victory over the Rangers.

The Blue Jays are currently using a platoon at second base with Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney. Burns' best shot at playing time might come in left field, to give veteran Michael Saunders a day off against a tough left-handed pitcher. That could come as early as Saturday with three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers.

Burns was selected in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He made a strong impression this spring, when he hit .286 with six extra-base hits and eight RBIs in 25 games.

"That played a part, but guys have that had him in the past always liked him," Gibbons said of his performance in Spring Training. "Then we got to see him, he had a good spring. He's a ballplayer, he plays the game the right way, he has always hit, he has solid speed.

"He's not a burner, but he's not going to clog it up. He can play a little first base if we had to run for [Justin] Smoak, he's really the only guy who can do that right now, [Edwin Encarnacion is] DHing. I think he will help us."

Day off for Tulowitzki

Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki received the day off on Friday night vs. the Dodgers. but Gibbons insisted the move was not made because of an injury. Gibbons said the plan all along was to give Tulowitzki a day off at some point this week.

Tulowitzki has gotten off to a very rough start this year. He entered play Friday hitting .163 (17-for-104) with six extra-base hits and 13 RBIs in 29 games this season.

"I'm just giving him a day off," Gibbons said. "When we originally got him, the plan was to give him days off every now and then."

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.