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Halladay, Downs added to crowded Jays' DL

Halladay should be back before the end of the month.


On the same day that their trainer was awarded a trip to the All-Star Game, the Jays placed three more pitchers on the disabled list: Roy Halladay (groin), Casey Janssen (shoulder) and Scott Downs (toe).

Those three join fellow pitchers Jesse Litsch, Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Robert Ray on the shelf for Toronto. The offense has actually stayed remarkably healthy, with only backup catcher Michael Barrett missing significant time due to injury. The Jays, though, are missing four legitimate major league starters, two more guys who have spent time in their rotation this year and a reliever who appeared in line for an All-Star appearance.

Fortunately, Halladay is expected to miss the minimum two starts. Janssen, who missed last year following shoulder surgery, may have been bounced from the rotation if the Jays didn't have reason to put him back on the DL. Brad Mills is coming up to replace him and will make his major league debut Thursday.

Mills, a 2007 fourth-round pick, gets his promotion despite starting off 1-8 in Triple-A. He had a 4.48 ERA, which is actually quite good for a Las Vegas pitcher. Still, as a modest flyball pitcher without a true strikeout pitch, he could have a rough adjustment period ahead of him. I think Brett Cecil would have been the better choice to step in, but Cecil might follow him as the starting in Halladay's place on Saturday.

Downs was hurt Tuesday, when he stumbled out of the box while grounding out in his first at-bat since 2004. He only hit because the Jays scored five runs in the top of the 10th. He was the ninth and final batter of that inning, and the plan was to send him back out for the 10th, though the injury forced his removal.

The Jays now have a tough decision on whether to go back to B.J. Ryan in the closer's role. Ryan hasn't allowed a run in any of his last eight appearances, though he's been pitching mostly in losing causes. His stuff still isn't nearly what it was last year. However, he does have the experience, and as bad as he pitched in April, he never actually cost the Jays a game. Both of his blown saves came in games the Jays went on to win.

If performance to date this year is all that matters, then Jason Frasor becomes the immediate favorite for saves in Toronto. Still, it would make sense for Cito Gaston to pick his spots and give Ryan the occasional chance in the ninth. The Jays need to figure out whether Ryan is going to be a valuable piece in the pen going forward.

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