"I think I'll be ready by Tuesday," said Osuna, who finished with 36 saves last season. "I might throw on flat ground tomorrow or Monday just to make sure I'll be 100 percent on Tuesday, but definitely no issues. No more pain in my neck or back. I'm feeling great."
Considering Osuna's lack of work this spring, there might be a little bit of rust when he eventually debuts next week. Even so, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he would not hesitate to use him if a save situation arises on Tuesday and that he would also be available for back-to-back outings right out of the gate.
That's obviously very good news for the Blue Jays, who have been piecing together the back end of their bullpen during the first week of the year. Veteran Jason Grilli picked up a save vs. Tampa Bay on Thursday night, but this will allow him to settle back into a set-up role.
"I think I felt much better on Tuesday of last week," Osuna said. "I've been working with the coaches and all of the staff trying to get better and better everyday. I've been feeling great and now it's just about pitching. I don't think I'm locating my fastball, but I'm really happy I don't have any pain anymore."
Lawrence joins Blue Jays
With Toronto's bullpen having tossed 7 2/3 innings on Friday night the club had no choice but to make a roster move prior to Saturday's game vs. Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays selected the contract of right-hander Casey Lawrence from Triple-A Buffalo and Dominic Leone, who tossed 2 1/3 innings on Friday, was optioned to the Minor Leagues.
Lawrence initially was scheduled to start the season opener for Buffalo on Saturday but he was scratched from that outing and sent to Florida on short notice. He will give the Blue Jays some added protection with his ability to throw multiple innings in case one of Toronto's starters over the next two days does not pitch deep into a game.
"I thought he did a nice job [this spring]," Gibbons said. "Guys that had him in the past really liked him. He's a strike thrower. Going into Spring Training there was an outside shot he could have made the team anyway. The thinking all along was that we would see him sooner or later. Didn't necessarily expect it this soon."
No concerns about Howell
Veteran left-hander J.P. Howell had a night he would like to forget during Friday's 10-8 loss to the Rays. Howell did not retire any of the four batters he faced and ultimately took the loss after coughing up a 7-6 lead in the seventh inning.
After the game, a visibly frustrated Howell sat by his locker for a lengthy period of time and did not avoid the media. That's becoming more rare in this day and age, but when Gibbons was informed of that the following day, he was not surprised at all.
"Nobody feels worse than the guy it happens to," Gibbons said. "One thing about J.P., he's a stand-up guy. He's accountable. Everybody has bad days in baseball."