By Andrew Hendriks
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays welcomed utility infielder Jonathan Diaz back into the fold, as the club announced it had come to terms with the long-time Toronto farmhand ahead of the 2015 season.
Diaz, 29, appeared in a handful games with the Jays in 2014, slashing .158/.256/.184 over 45 plate appearances while predominately filling in for an ailing Jose Reyes, who suffered a hamstring injury during his first at-bat of the season on March 31.
Drafted by Toronto in the 12th round in 2006, Diaz spent parts of seven seasons in the Jays’ minor league system prior to electing free agency and signing with the Red Sox ahead of the 2013 campaign.
It would be with Boston that the Florida native would make his MLB debut, ironically getting the start vs. Toronto on June 29 at Fenway Park. He went 0-4 at the plate, but turned a pair of plays in the field, including a 5-3 put out to retire Edwin Encarnacion after the Jays’ designated hitter smashed a 1-1 Felix Doubront delivery to the hot corner.
Utilized primarily as a defensive upgrade down the stretch, Diaz appeared in three more games with he Sox in ’13, and for his contributions the former North Carolina State Wolfpack infielder received a ring following Boston’s World Series victory over the St Louis Cardinals last fall.
When the Blue Jays’ gritty free agent utility man, Mike McCoy, opted to sign with Boston last winter, Toronto was in need of a viable replacement and took to the market looking to fill the void.
Diaz served as a perfect fit.
Returning to the Blue Jays’ organization in ’14, the veteran of eight minor league seasons played the majority of his games with triple-A Buffalo, slashing .205/.319/.295 while providing outstanding defense in the field.
As for the upcoming campaign, his deal is of the minor league variety and although it includes an invite to spring training, Diaz will likely provide Toronto with a backup plan should something happen to middle infielders Ryan Goins or Reyes at any point during next year.
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