Notes: Chacin gets fourth rehab start
Downs set for Saturday start; Jays abide by new flight rules
MINNEAPOLIS -- There's no reason to rush Gustavo Chacin back into the rotation. At least that's the approach Toronto is taking with its recovering left-hander.
Chacin, who has been sidelined with an elbow injury since June 10, had a successful third Minor League rehab outing on Wednesday with Triple-A Syracuse. Instead of activating him from the 15-day disabled list, though, the Blue Jays plan on having Chacin work through a fourth rehab start on Monday with Class A Dunedin.
Toronto could bring Chacin back for a start on Tuesday on the road against Tampa Bay, but with a day off on Monday, that would push pitchers Roy Halladay, Ted Lilly and A.J. Burnett back two extra days each. That's not something Toronto manager John Gibbons wants to do.
"Everybody gets that extra day," said Gibbons, referring to the day off. "So we'll have him [rehab] down in Dunedin. Then he can slot back in when his turn comes back around. It actually works out perfect.
"Now he can go out there and keep building up stamina," Gibbons added. "Then when he makes his first start back with us, his limitations are no concern at all."
If everything goes well on Monday, Chacin will rejoin Toronto's staff for a start on Saturday at Baltimore. After Toronto's off-day, Halladay, Lilly, Burnett and Shaun Marcum are scheduled to pitch in the games leading up to Chacin's first start for the Jays since June 9.
During that start, Chacin exited after three innings against Detroit because he sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. It is the same injury that landed him on the 15-day DL from May 11-30 and the same type of injury that cost Burnett more than two months on the DL this season, too. That's why Toronto has taken extra precaution regarding Chacin's return.
On Wednesday, Chacin gave up two runs on six hits in five innings for Syracuse. The Venezuelan southpaw struck out six, walked one and threw 77 pitches in the outing. The appearance showed improvement over his first pair of rehab starts, in which Chacin went 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA and 103 pitches in 3 1/3 innings.
Chacin sounded confident after his most recent outing.
"I'm ready to go," Chacin said on Wednesday. "It's going to be great to be back. I'm just going to try and help the team, and do my job.
"Everything is fine. Nothing is bothering me in my arm, and that's the main thing."
Downs set for Saturday: Gibbons officially announced on Thursday that left-hander Scott Downs would indeed be starting on Saturday for Toronto. Downs, who primarily serves out of the bullpen, will be making his fourth spot start of the year for the Jays.
"Yeah, he's going Saturday," said Gibbons, ending speculation.
Downs, who last started on June 14, has gone 0-0 with a 10.00 ERA in his three starts for Toronto this season. The lefty has given up 11 runs across nine innings in those appearances. Out of the 'pen, though, Downs is 5-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 40 outings.
Originally, Lilly was going to be scheduled for Saturday, but he was scratched from his outing on Monday in Toronto due to a sore neck. The Jays then decided to have Lilly pitch in the opener of a four-game set with the Twins on Thursday, when rookie Francisco Rosario was supposed to pitch.
Rosario, who then was tentatively penciled in for Saturday, tweaked his lower back in a relief appearance on Tuesday. That's why Toronto turned to Downs, who will only need to make one start with Chacin scheduled back next week.
Flight plans: The foiled terrorist plot that involved United States-bound planes out of London, England, didn't just take a toll on travelers Thursday morning. It also had an effect on the Blue Jays' charter. Toronto flew to Minnesota on Wednesday night, so its plane wasn't affected by the events.
The club's charter that leaves for Tampa after Sunday's game will have to abide by the new regulations, though. The Blue Jays will not be permitted to carry any liquid or gel-like substances on board their charter. Those items will have to be stored underneath the plane.
Speier update: The MRI performed on right-hander Justin Speier's arm on Wednesday revealed that there was no structural damage to the pitcher's throwing elbow. The source of Speier's pain was limited to his right forearm, which will most likely keep him on the 15-day DL for three to four weeks. While the Jays are on their current 10-game road trip, Speier will remain in Toronto to receive treatment.
Did you know? Blue Jays ace Halladay has appeared in 24 games following a Toronto loss since the beginning of 2005. In those games, the Jays have posted a 20-4 record. Halladay has gone 14-3 with a 2.90 ERA in those contests.
Quotable: "That shocked me. I didn't realize that." --Gibbons, on the fact that Minnesota's Justin Morneau -- a native of Westminster, B.C. -- became the first Twins hitter to reach 30 home runs since 1987
Coming up: Toronto right-hander Burnett (3-5, 4.81 ERA) will take on Minnesota righty Matt Garza (Major League debut) at 8:10 p.m. ET on Friday at the Metrodome.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.