MONTREAL -- The Blue Jays will open the season without their closer after it was revealed on Sunday afternoon that Roberto Osuna has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with cervical spasms.
Osuna's DL stint has been backdated to April 1, and he will be eligible to return April 11 in the home opener vs. Milwaukee. Right-hander Joe Biagini is a candidate to close according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, while veteran Jason Grilli likely will receive some consideration as well.
The news became official at the same time Toronto announced its 25-man roster for the start of the season. The Blue Jays released Melvin Upton Jr., and the final spot on the roster went to infielder Ryan Goins. Right-hander Ryan Tepera secured a job in the bullpen, and Mike Bolsinger was designated for assignment because he was out of options on his contract.
Osuna started dealing with neck issues when he returned from the World Baseball Classic. The discomfort initially was blamed on a bad mattress, and after he got it replaced, there supposedly had been improvement. He pitched on Wednesday afternoon in Florida and then again on Friday night in Montreal, and the results were fine -- but the after-effects apparently were not.
One cause for concern as Osuna battled through neck problems was a drop in velocity. The radar gun was turned off for Wednesday's outing in Dunedin, and there was not one visible during his outing at Olympic Stadium, either. The 22-year-old had his spot on the roster taken by Dominic Leone, who was recalled from the Minor Leagues.
Upton's days in Toronto have come to an end, and despite efforts to trade him over the past 24 hours, the veteran outfielder will instead be allowed to just walk away. He came over from the Padres prior to last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, and at the time, San Diego agreed to pick up almost his entire salary. Toronto only owed Upton approximately $1 million of the $16.5 he is set to earn in 2017.
The decision to keep Goins over Upton appears to be yet another vote of confidence in Justin Smoak and Ezequiel Carrera. Steve Pearce will factor into left field and first base, as well, but he can't fill two platoons at once, so that means the club is fully committed to Smoak receiving everyday at-bats.
Tepera deserves plenty of credit for the way he seized an opportunity this spring. Most projections, MLB.com's included, left him off the roster because he had options remaining on his deal and Bolsinger did not. In the end, Tepera pitched so well that he forced his way onto the roster by flashing 97 mph on the radar gun at times and allowing just two earned runs over 10 innings.
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.