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Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes will miss the Blue Jays’ series against Atlanta this weekend after suffering a cracked rib on a checked swing last week in Baltimore.

Reyes, who is also nursing a strained muscle in the same area on his left side, had an MRI exam this week and will be re-evaluated Tuesday. He tried to play through the discomfort in this week’s four-game series against Tampa Bay but took himself out of the club’s 4-2 loss to the Rays on Thursday night.

“The doctor told me the crack in the rib is not going to get any worse,” Reyes said before Friday’s game against the Braves at Rogers Centre. “What can get worse is the strain that I have in the muscle. It’s in the same area.”

The leadoff hitter is batting .324 with five RBIs in 10 games this season. Reyes said he did some tests with the trainer and felt sore, but wasn’t in pain and tried to play through it.

“Moving around the field is fine, throwing the ball is fine,” Reyes said. “To swing the bat, I can’t swing the bat.

“Most of my swings I was swinging with one hand because I can’t put a lot of pressure on my swings.”

Manager John Gibbons said team doctors felt the fracture was so small that he could still try playing.

“My impression was they weren’t overly concerned with the fracture,” he said. “It was just tolerance. See what he could tolerate.”

Reyes, who’s in his 13th big-league season, has been hampered by a variety of injuries throughout his career. He played only 93 games in his first season with the Blue Jays in 2013 and played 143 games last year.

Recent triple-A callup Ryan Goins got the start at shortstop Friday and second baseman Devon Travis will fill in at the top of the batting order. Depending on how Reyes feels next week, the switch-hitter could just bat from the right side to minimize the discomfort.

Gibbons added the veteran’s presence will be missed.

“He’s a big part of (the lineup),” he said. “He missed some time last year right out of the gate and he missed some time two years ago.

“In this business you learn to adjust, you’ve got no choice. It’s an opportunity for somebody (else) … to take advantage of it. You just deal with it. You don’t dwell on it too much. We’re definitely a better team with out here, but he’s not out there.”

Gibbons also said Canadian outfielder Michael Saunders, who is coming back from knee surgery, was expected to serve as designated hitter for single-A Dunedin on Saturday and should return to the field next week.

However, the Victoria native likely won’t be ready in time to join the Blue Jays before their 10-game homestand concludes Thursday. Saunders could also play a couple games at triple-A Buffalo before joining the team.


Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.


With files from reporter Dhiren Mahiban.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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