TORONTO (AP) _ Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Chad Mottola said he will never take the game for granted again.

Mottola returned to the majors on Tuesday after his contract was purchased from Triple A Syracuse. The 28 year-old, chosen fifth overall by Cincinnati in 1992, played in 35 games with the Reds in 1996, but has been in the minors since.

``I took the game for granted,'' said Mottola, now with his third organization. ``Being a first round pick you don't have to work as hard, but when you get older you wonder if you'll ever get the opportunity again.''

Mottola was the International League's MVP this season after hitting .309 with a league-leading 33 homers and 102 RBIs, second in the IL.

``It's exciting, and it's a relief to be back here,'' he said. ``My mom broke down pretty hard when I told her. She knows how hard I've worked this year.''

Toronto manager Jim Fregosi said Mottola might see a start against a left-hander, but that he would continue to play his regular players.

``He's had a great year,'' Fregosi said. ``I just don't think he's had a real opportunity to play at the big league level.''

To make room for Mottola on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays designated infielder Kevin Witt for the assignment. Witt hit .247 with 26 homers and 72 RBI for Syracuse.

Mottola was Witt's roommate on the road.

``Maybe somebody will pick him up,'' Mottola said. ``He was happy for me, but you feel for him.''

The Blue Jays also added infielder Chris Woodward to their expanded roster. Woodward hit .184 with three homers and 14 RBI in 32 games earlier this season with the Toronto.