The Toronto Blue Jays will receive a boost when shortstop Jose Reyes returns to action just in time for Wednesday's finale of a three- game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Reyes had been on the disabled list since April because of a sprained left ankle and was injured April 12 in an 8-4 win at Kansas City. The speedy Reyes, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins this past offseason, went down after sliding into second base and his ankle rolled underneath him.
The 11-year veteran is batting .395 with one homer, five RBI and five steals over 10 games this season, and was activated off the 60-day DL following Tuesday's 5-1 loss. The former All-Star finished his rehab 12-for-29 with a double and six runs scored in seven games for Class A Dunedin and the club's Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.
"I'm very excited about it, because it was two months that I couldn't do what I love to do," Reyes told the club's website. "Now I know I'll be on the field again, around my teammates. The way the team is playing, I want to be a part of the exciting thing that's happening right now."
Reyes, who is expected to resume his familiar role at the top of the order, said he felt "very comfortable" in all four games at the Triple-A level and performed the way he would in the majors by stealing bases and turning double plays. Toronto hopes Reyes' return can help the team avoid being swept in three games at the Trop.
The Jays have dropped two in a row since their season-best 11-game winning streak and have scored a total of two runs in the last two games. In Tuesday's loss, Maicer Izturis drove in the lone run and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle dropped below .500 at 4-5 after he gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings of work. Buehrle walked four batters and fanned two.
"Up in the zone a lot, fell behind guys -- not getting strike one, you're going to be in trouble all night long," Buehrle said. "I made a few pitches when I needed to and they put the ball in play. That's why this game is frustrating.
"You're missing your spots and you make a good pitch and they put the ball in play. Whether it's a broken-bat base hit or finding a hole."
Toronto will visit Boston next for four games and hopes R.A. Dickey can salvage this set against the Rays. Dickey did not record a decision his previous time out in a 7-6 win over Baltimore last Friday and gave up six runs in six innings. He is 2-1 in his last three decisions and 6-8 in 16 starts to go along with a 5.15 earned run average.
The knuckleballer defeated the Rays on May 20 and is 2-2 with a 4.57 ERA in nine career games (5 starts) against them.
Tampa Bay received a lights-out performance from starter Matt Moore on Tuesday and he pushed his record to 10-3 by holding the Blue Jays to a run and four hits in six innings with 11 strikeouts. Despite walking six batters, Moore and the bullpen were able to hold down the club's third straight win and fifth in seven tries.
"It was bend but don't break," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Moore. "He was obviously off in the beginning and missing by a lot. All of a sudden, he found it. ... That's the beautiful thing about him. He has the stuff to pitch through those wild moments."
Jake McGee, Kyle Farnsworth and Jamey Wright each threw a scoreless inning of relief, while Yunel Escobar and James Loney finished with three hits and a run scored apiece. Desmond Jennings went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the win and Wil Myers posted his sixth RBI in the past four games. Myers is riding an eight-game hitting streak.
The Rays, who will welcome Detroit to the Trop for three games later this week, are slated to send Roberto Hernandez to the mound Wednesday. Hernandez has lost two straight, three of four and four of his last six starts, including last Friday's 6-2 setback at Yankee Stadium.
Hernandez gave up nine hits and five runs in seven innings, falling to 4-8 in 14 starts with a 5.14 ERA. The right-hander has permitted 16 runs in the previous four starts and is 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA in seven career starts against the Blue Jays.
Tampa Bay is 5-4 against Toronto this season.