OAKLAND -- It's been a long two weeks for J.A. Happ.
After the Blue Jays acquired the left-hander in a 10-player trade with the Astros on July 20, the team placed the career starter in its bullpen, not yet ready to determine which member of the rotation would lose his spot to make room for the new acquisition.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos made the situation clear to Happ as soon as the trade was made, but that didn't make it any easier for the lefty -- who has made 90 starts out of 110 total appearances in his six years in the big leagues -- to deal with.
But with Brett Cecil's demotion on Friday, Happ is finally a starter again. He'll make his Blue Jays starting debut on Thursday against Tampa Bay. Though he said he was both shocked and disappointed when he found out his initial role, he's ready to move forward.
"Luckily, I was able to stay patient, and hopefully things work out here and hopefully I'll be able to stay in the rotation for a long time," Happ said before Saturday's game against the A's.
Since he hasn't made a start since July 16, Happ won't be fully stretched out for his outing. But he said he's "going to try to not be too overly concerned with that," and be as economical with his pitches as possible.
That issue is nothing compared to the frustration Happ felt while toiling through four bullpen appearances, not knowing when the temporary move would end. He was able to clear the air a bit with Anthopoulos and manager John Farrell this week, which alleviated some of the issues. But he was still eager to start again.
Happ will remain available in relief for the next two games, since Toronto's bullpen is a bit taxed after Friday's 15-inning affair. But after that, it's back to the rotation, seemingly for good.
"It was [frustrating], definitely," Happ said. "Kind of leading up to the Deadline, kind of wondering if something was going to happen, and then especially after that, trying to make sense of everything. Again, just glad to get the opportunity."
Hechavarria makes big league debut
OAKLAND -- After he was unable to make it to Toronto last September due to visa problems, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria finally got the call to the big leagues on Friday night. He made his debut in Saturday's game against the A's, playing third base and hitting ninth.
The promotion came after regular third baseman Brett Lawrie was forced out of Friday's game due to a strained ribcage.
Hechavarria said that it "feels wonderful" to be in the Majors -- and he certainly earned his callup, hitting .312 for Triple-A Las Vegas this season. Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he was impressed by the improvement Hechavarria showed in Spring Training this year, and the 23-year-old does appear to have more offensive punch now. He hadn't hit higher than .273 in any of his stops below Triple-A.
"I feel like I've improved a lot from last year," Hechavarria said through his translator. "People have noticed that, and I hope that I continue getting better."
In making his debut, Hechavarria started at a position that he had never previously played, having spent most of his time as a shortstop in the Minors. But Farrell wasn't overly concerned about that, noting that his athleticism should help the rookie adapt quickly.
"He's an exciting young player," Farrell said prior to Saturday's game. "What he showed in Spring Training was a huge improvement over a year ago, and this has been a guy who, if you look at his past, every level he's been elevated, he's responded in a strong way. We're looking forward to him starting today."
Hechavarria went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Lawrie, Rasmus join long injury list
OAKLAND -- Already without big bats Jose Bautista, J.P. Arencibia and Adam Lind, the Blue Jays were dealt another blow when third baseman Brett Lawrie and center fielder Colby Rasmus were both injured in Friday night's game against the A's.
The good news is that neither should miss too much time. Toronto manager John Farrell said before Saturday's game that both players are day to day, and it doesn't seem like they'll have to head to the disabled list.
Rasmus, especially, has a good prognosis. He strained his groin while running in to catch Derek Norris' fly ball in the bottom of the 11th inning on Friday, but stayed in the game and hit a double in the 12th before Farrell pulled him as a precaution.
The outfielder believes that he could return on Sunday. Though Farrell was less optimistic, he, too, left open that possibility.
"I don't want to say it's nothing, but to me it's nothing serious," Rasmus said. "Just hopefully, like I said, be back in there [on Sunday]. So it's no big deal, just came out just to make sure [not to injure it further]."
Lawrie may be out a bit longer. The pain he felt in his ribcage actually dates to the Blue Jays' series against the Yankees in mid-July. He played through it initially, but when Lawrie aggravated the injury in his at-bat leading off Friday's game, he had to sit.
"He is tough," Farrell said. "He's got a high pain threshold, but I think it got to the point where he had to say, 'You know what, I've got to protect against this.'"
Farrell said Lawrie would be re-evaluated on Tuesday after the team's off-day on Monday.
After using five relievers on Friday, the Blue Jays' bullpen was still in decent shape for Saturday's game. Farrell said Darren Oliver, Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar and new callup Jesse Chavez were all available, and Chavez had the ability to go long if need be.
Injured right-hander Brandon Morrow made his second rehab start on Friday since injuring his left oblique in June. Pitching for Class A-Advanced Dunedin, Morrow gave up two runs and five hits in three innings, while striking out four and throwing 43 pitches. He'll make his next start for Double-A New Hampshire on Thursday.
Farrell celebrated his 50th birthday on Saturday. He shares his birthday with former pitcher Roger Clemens, who also turned 50, and U.S. President Barack Obama, who turned 51.
Ben Estes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.