Blue Jays activate Estrada, Morales from DL

Loup, Burns optioned to Triple-A, while Toronto DFA's Antolin

Blue Jays activate Estrada, Morales from DL

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays officially reinstated right-hander Marco Estrada from the 15-day disabled list to start Friday's series opener against the Mariners at Rogers Centre.

Estrada had been dealing with a sore lower back and missed his final outing before the All-Star break as a result. The 33-year-old received multiple cortisone shots in early July, and the break provided Estrada with additional time to rest. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons believes Estrada will return to his normal form down the stretch, as the Blue Jays aim to earn their second consecutive playoff berth.

"We think he's fine," Gibbons said. "We know it's his first start back, but we think that's all behind him. How will the layoff affect him? We're not sure, but we expect him to be good. He's been really, really good."

The veteran right-hander was named an All-Star for the first time in 2016, and although he did not pitch, Estrada attended the event in San Diego with his family. The Sonora, Mexico, native has experienced back problems in the past as well, initially starting the season on the DL after an injury in Spring Training. The 33-year-old right-hander has been among the best starters in the Major Leagues this season, sporting a 0.99 WHIP and .173 opponents' batting average -- tops among qualified American League pitchers -- with a strong 2.93 ERA.

The Blue Jays also activated left-handed reliever Franklin Morales on Friday, while fellow left-hander Aaron Loup and utility man Andy Burns were optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. Right-hander Dustin Antolin was designated for assignment to make room for Morales on the 40-man roster.

The 30-year-old Morales made two early-season appearances for the Blue Jays before being placed on the DL with left-shoulder fatigue. Morales' 30-day rehab assignment expired on Wednesday, and the veteran lefty allowed two runs in 11 innings over 11 appearances across two Minor League levels during his rehab stint.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.