BOSTON -- The Blue Jays are expected to add at least one starting pitcher this offseason, but no matter what happens, there should be plenty of options at the club's disposal at Spring Training.
Toronto's rotation has been its biggest weakness this year and the only pitchers with guaranteed jobs in 2014 are R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and in all likelihood, hard-throwing right-hander Brandon Morrow.
The probability of adding two mid-rotation starters seems unlikely considering the expected market value, so even if general manager Alex Anthopoulos is able to make a big splash, there should be at least one job up for grabs and it's up to the current group to make a lasting impression.
"We don't know what's going to happen, what Alex is going to do during the offseason, that's an area we need to address, no question," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But we have some guys that are stepping up that will make their decisions tough and that's why it's important they all finish strong. It makes for good competition, but you do know that Alex is going to go out and look if we can strengthen that area anyways."
The Blue Jays might be lacking another elite starter, but they have plenty of options at the back end of their staff. J.A. Happ, Ricky Romero, Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Sean Nolin and Marcus Stroman could all potentially compete for a spot.
Toronto has been decimated by injuries in each of the past two seasons and knows all too well that it takes a lot more than five starters to get through a season. An ideal number of pitchers to have ready is 10, but that's a luxury the Blue Jays haven't enjoyed until now.
Drabek and Hutchison are recovered from Tommy John surgery, while prospects Nolin and Stroman are expected to be ready at some point next year. That should allow the club to avoid going with stopgap veterans like they had to do this year with Chien-Ming Wang, Ramon Ortiz and Aaron Laffey.
"We like these guys, they've shown us they can pitch but ... they're unproven guys," Gibbons said. "Happ has been around awhile, but the other guys are new to it and trying to establish themselves. Who knows what will happen? Alex, he'll address that and see what's available, see what options we have, but the depth looks a heck of a lot better than it did going into this year."
Rasmus gets CT scan after freak injury
BOSTON -- Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus was sent to a local hospital after he was struck in the face during a freak accident in the first inning of Friday night's 6-3 loss against the Red Sox.
Rasmus was running out to field his position in the bottom of the first, when he was hit in the face by a throw from Anthony Gose. The ball struck Rasmus' left eye, but it wasn't immediately clear how much damage had been done, and the club was awaiting results from a CT scan.
The 27-year-old Rasmus was immediately removed from the game after the bizarre incident and there appeared to be plenty of concern in the Blue Jays' clubhouse over his condition.
"He's in getting a CT scan right now, we'll see what happens," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It got him right in the eye."
The situation is one that plays itself out before the start of every inning. One outfielder throws the ball to another as they begin to warm up with a brief game of catch while their pitcher goes through the motions on the mound in anticipation of the first batter.
The difference this time was that Rasmus wasn't looking when Gose threw the ball and it struck him in a very unfortunate location. Gibbons speculated that at the very least Rasmus could have a broken nose, but the obvious hope will be that he didn't suffer a concussion on the play.
Gose was understandably emotional during a brief interview with reporters. He appeared to be fighting back tears, and even though it was an accident, Gose certainly appeared to be blaming himself for what happened.
"He's in the hospital, that tells you enough right there," a visibly shaken Gose said. "I thought he was looking at me, tried to throw it to him and it hit him right in the face."
The injury is the latest in a string of recent setbacks for Rasmus. He missed more than a month with a strained oblique injury before returning Sept. 13, then had to miss another game because of general body soreness.
In the five games since his return, Rasmus had four homers, six hits and six RBIs, but didn't get an at-bat Friday night.
Gose closing out season on positive note
BOSTON -- Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Gose is doing his best to salvage his season with a strong month of September.
Gose entered the 2013 campaign as one of Toronto's top prospects, but never seemed to find a groove with Triple-A Buffalo. He struggled with the bat and had mental lapses both in the field and on the basepaths, but appears to have turned a corner of late.
The 23-year-old altered his batting stance and has lowered his leg kick which has led to better timing and improved overall results at the plate the past couple of weeks.
"He has been swinging it ... he's on a little bit of a roll," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's trying to eliminate that leg kick, it's not quite as big, but even though he has a little bit of one right now, his timing is much better.
"He is getting it out of the way earlier, which was a big part of what was killing him. Now, it's a little bit earlier and when he eliminates that thing he has a shot."
Gose implemented his new mechanics earlier this month and the early results have been overwhelmingly positive. He entered play on Friday night hitting .367 (11-for-30) with five extra-base hits and five RBIs in parts of nine games.
Colby Rasmus is firmly entrenched as the starter in center field next season, but fourth outfielder Rajai Davis is set to hit free agency, which could make Gose an option off the bench in 2014. It's an old debate in baseball: Would the organization be best served using an emerging player in a utility role and provide him with occasional at-bats in the Major Leagues?
For now at least, it appears as though Gibbons would prefer to have Gose on the roster depending on what happens with Davis.
"It's a weapon off the bench late, to run, steal you a base, great defense," Gibbons said. "We think there's more in there than that, but going into next year when you're trying to win, it might cost the guy some playing time but he can help you win games, you look at it totally different."