Osuna targeting home opener for return

Closer expected to throw in Minors game while Blue Jays are in St. Pete this weekend

Osuna targeting home opener for return

BALTIMORE -- Closer Roberto Osuna remains on track to return for Tuesday's home opener, and the Blue Jays are considering using him in a Minor League game this weekend.

Osuna missed the start of the season because of neck spasms. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list and is eligible to return at the beginning of next week. With Toronto set to play four games in St. Petersburg this weekend, it also provides a perfect opportunity to use Osuna in a simulated game at the club's nearby Minor League complex.

A final determination on whether Osuna will pitch this weekend likely will not come for another couple of days. In the meantime, he continues to go through light throwing sessions to keep his arm in shape.

Osuna's scoreless inning

"When we go to Florida we could send him over to throw a few pitches in a game," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We're debating that right now. ... We think he'll be good and ready by [Tuesday] anyways. Pete [Walker, pitching coach] watched him throw and said he feels really good."

Osuna's neck spasms originally were not considered a big deal. The discomfort began to surface in the recent World Baseball Classic, and upon his return the 22-year-old sat out for a couple of weeks before trying to ramp up his workouts in the final week of camp. An appearance in Montreal was supposed to be his final tune-up, but since there was still discomfort in the area the plan had to change.

"He had been battling it for a while, that's why when he came back from the [World Baseball Classic] he wasn't in there a lot," Gibbons said. "It was just kind of lingering. He was doing all of his stuff and we figured back off, relax a little bit."

Worth mentioning

• Toronto released Gavin Floyd from his Minor League contract on Wednesday morning. Floyd signed a non-guaranteed deal during the offseason, and he was initially expected to compete for a spot in the bullpen. Floyd was still rehabbing from last year's sprained shoulder capsule and he did not pitch in an official spring game.

• Left fielder Ezequiel Carrera rolled his ankle while rounding second base following a double on Opening Day. The area is still a little swollen and tender, but he was available off the bench if needed for Wednesday's game vs. Baltimore.

Carrera's RBI double

• First baseman Justin Smoak was not in the lineup on Opening Day as the Blue Jays wanted to use Carrera in left and Steve Pearce at first base with fly-ball pitcher Marco Estrada on the mound for Toronto. That changed Wednesday night with lefty J.A. Happ pitching as the Blue Jays went with Pearce in left and Smoak at first. One thing is pretty clear, Toronto does not intend on using Smoak as a part-time player.

"We want to give Smoakie a lot of at-bats to see if we can get him going," Gibbons said. "We'll try to play them all as much as we can ... but we want to see Smoakie get him some steady games and see if we can get him off to a good start."

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.