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Blue Jays’ Valencia, Carrera designated for assignment

The Blue Jays continued to fine-tune their lineup Saturday, a day after the baseball trade deadline that added four key new players but subsequently saw two others sent packing.

The team, needing to make room for its big acquisitions — David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere and Mark Lowe — was forced to shed bench contributors in Danny Valencia and Ezequiel Carrera.

The two were designated for assignment, which leaves various waiver options, a trade or an assignment to Triple-A Buffalo, which the player can refuse and opt for free agency.

There was an element of surprise, especially with Valencia, who was a solid contributor off the bench as a hitter but who necessitated an upgrade defensively in left field.

Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons met Friday after the deadline passed and decided to place Revere in an every-day situation in left field. That left little to no role for Valencia.

“(Friday) was a crazy day — we got Revere and we didn’t think that was going to happen,” Anthopoulos said.

“And then that was initially going to be a platoon with Revere (and Valencia), but we had talks and we went through the roster and figured out who was going to go. I think Gibby came away with the feeling he wants Revere in left field every day, so there wasn’t going to be any playing room for Valencia. With (Chris) Colabello, he was going to hit ahead of Valencia too, so with good players like that, the manager can make the decision on who he wants in the lineup.”

Several theories floated around Valencia, who exited Kansas City last season, just before the Royals went on a tear that led them to the World Series. Valencia was also owed about $ 700,000 (U.S.) by the Jays over the remainder of this season.

“Danny was great here, sometimes you make decisions like this, but Danny was 10 out of 10, well liked. But Revere playing every day, there was a decision to make. Revere led the National League in hits last year too, so it seemed the more we looked at it, the team is stronger with Ben in there everyday,” Anthopoulos said.

“Now . . . Gibby has the lineup he wants.”

Toronto, in the meantime, rested shortstop Tulowitzki on Saturday in the Jays’ 7-6 loss to K.C. The five-time all-star will likely see more games off when the Jays play a night game followed by a day game, as was the case Friday and Saturday. He underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his hip a year ago.

The Jays also recalled Munenori Kawasaki from Buffalo and optioned reliever Ryan Tepera back to the Bisons.

Valencia could serve as both a third and first baseman, but the Jays’ needs with this roster are more for a middle infielder, with caution needed for Tulowitzki and regular second baseman Devon Travis on the disabled list with shoulder troubles.

“The big part of this is we needed a reliable middle infielder. Danny can play third base and first and left field, but we need protection at second and shortstop. That’s big for us,” Anthopoulos said.


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