Blue Jays expect to have Carrera back soon

Outfielder will take on everyday role with Bautista, Pillar sidelined

Blue Jays expect to have Carrera back soon

NEW YORK -- Ezequiel Carrera is nearing a return and could be back in the Blue Jays' lineup during their current three-game series against the Yankees.

Carrera made his fourth -- and possibly final -- rehab appearance for Triple-A Buffalo on Monday night. He has one hit in 14 at-bats, and the only question is whether Carrera needs more plate appearances before rejoining the big league club. He's on the disabled list due to a strained left Achilles.

The 29-year-old is expected to take over an everyday role in the outfield while Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista are on the 15-day disabled list. Junior Lake or Darrell Ceciliani are the likely candidates to be optioned to the Minors.

"He's down in Buffalo, he'll play there again tonight and we'll kind of see," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We'll see if he needs any more at-bats."

Carrera got off to a hot start this season, but his production started to dip when he began to play every day during Bautista's first stint on the DL. Carrera is batting .258 with a .346 on-base percentage and five stolen bases in 75 games this season.

Pillar improving

Pillar played catch prior to Monday's game against the Yankees and remains on track to return from the disabled list when eligible on Aug. 22. Toronto's starting center fielder has been on the disabled list since Aug. 7 because of a strained left thumb.

The 27-year-old said at the time of the injury that he expected to miss the minimum amount of time, and halfway through the DL stint that still appears to be the case.

"We think when that time is up, he'll be all right," Gibbons said. "They think he'll be good."

Martin's workload to be monitored

One of the overlooked components of Toronto's six-man rotation is that starting catcher Russell Martin is now behind the plate five out of every six games instead of four out of every five. Martin gets the day off whenever knuckleballer R.A. Dickey takes the mound with his personal catcher Josh Thole moving behind the plate.

The added workload means the Blue Jays will likely look to occasionally pair Thole with one of the other starters. A lot of that will depend on timing, with Martin more likely getting a day off when it's a night game followed by a day game or vice versa.

"It depends," Gibbons said. "[Martin] caught Friday night and Saturday because we had Thursday off. But if we have a day game after a night game, if he has caught a few days in a row, he's going to need that. We'll see when we get further along if we have to adjust that.

"We still have to get him as much rest as possible. Thole has been hitting much better, he has been swinging it pretty good. We'll work that around Russ, right now anyway."

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.