Mike Gonzalez is scheduled to throw one inning against the Phillies on Friday.
Felix Pie threw and hit again today and will play in one of the intrasquad games on Saturday.
“He probably could play on Friday, but because it’s a night game, I’ll hold him back and play him on Saturday,” manager Dave Trembley said.
“I’m encouraged by both Gonzalez and Pie.”
Trembley won’t make more roster cuts before the split-squad games.
Trembley said Chris Tillman, David Hernandez and Jason Berken are vying for the fifth starters job. It isn’t being handed to Tillman, and Trembley stopped short of referring to the right-hander as the frontrunner - though that’s the assumption here.
“I think that’s why we have tried to stretch those guys out,” Trembley said. “Berken’s getting an opportunity to start today. Hernandez did yesterday. We’re going to keep playing it out that way, giving people opportunities.
“I think I said in the offseason before I came to camp that I think the right thing to do was the fair thing to do. Berken and Hernandez started for us all last year when they were there last year. I thought it was unfair to just say ‘It’s Tillman’s.’ That’s no disrespect to Tillman. That’s not slighting him and that’s not saying anything good or bad about Berken or Hernandez.
“There are still games to play here and we have it slotted so that guys are going to get opportunities to start here, and then we’re going to see what’s best for them, but more importantly, what’s best for the team.”
Results are the primary factor, but Trembley also will consider last season’s performance.
“Maybe not equally as much,” Trembley said, “but you still gather as much information as you can.”
Trembley said it will be a “last-week decision.”
Hernandez or Berken could be viewed as “potential bullpen guys” if they fail to crack the rotation.
Asked about Tillman, Tremblely replied: “He’s 21 years old. I think it’s way too early to start looking at him as a bullpen guy. I think he should be a starter.”
That would mean Triple-A Norfolk if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster.
Trembley clearly is impressed with Hernandez.
“He’s been better than he was at the end of last season,” Trembley said. “He’s improved his delivery a lot. And he’s improved his arm speed, and he looks more comfortable.”
Here’s the Blue Jays lineup:
Jarrett Hoffpauir 3B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Jeremy Reed CF
Randy Ruiz DH
Brian Dopirak 1B
Travis Snider LF
Brad Emaus 2B
Chris Lubanski RF
Raul Chavez C
Brian Tallet LHP