Tulo making progress toward big league return

Tulo making progress toward big league return

PHILADELPHIA -- Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had four at-bats at the club's Minor League complex on Wednesday morning and appears to be nearing a return from his sore right quadriceps muscle.

If Tulowitzki feels fine Thursday morning, he is expected to play in a rehab game for Class A Dunedin later that night. He previously was nearing a return last week but experienced a minor setback while running the bases.

Tulowitzki has been out since May 27 because of the leg injury. Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins have filled in during his absence, but it seems likely that Tulowitzki would be able to return at some point during the upcoming three-game series in Baltimore.

Tulowitzki is batting .204 with eight home runs, 23 RBIs and a .673 OPS in 46 games for the Blue Jays this season.

Saunders out another day

Blue Jays left fielder Michael Saunders was held out of Wednesday's lineup against the Phillies because of a sore right hamstring. Saunders left Tuesday night's game in the third inning because of lingering discomfort, and he was a candidate to play the following day but Toronto wanted to give him some extra rest.

With Saunders out of the lineup, Ezequiel Carrera got the start in left field and also hit out of the leadoff spot. Jose Bautista dropped to second in the order, while Josh Donaldson was third.

"He feels pretty good," manager John Gibbons said of Saunders. "He should be good [Thursday], maybe, according to him. His [hamstring] flares every now and then."

Two up, two down

The Blue Jays recalled left-hander Chad Girodo and utilityman Andy Burns from Triple-A Buffalo prior to Wednesday night's game. The two additions took the spots left behind by relievers Aaron Loup and Scott Diamond, who were removed from the 25-man roster following Tuesday's 11-3 win.

Girodo is the only lefty in Toronto's bullpen, and he's expected to be used in a specialist's role. The 25-year-old appeared in 11 games for the Blue Jays earlier this season and allowed four earned runs over 8 1/3 innings.

Burns is a super-utility player that can be used all over the field. He was added to the 25-man roster to increase the versatility of Toronto's bench with a couple of games scheduled this week in a National League ballpark.

"He's the one guy, he can play infield, outfield, first base, anywhere," Gibbons said of Burns.

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.