Notes: Accardo's role likely to change
Gibbons plans a closer-by-committee for rest of the season
DETROIT -- For a pitcher that wasn't even supposed to be a closer this year, Jeremy Accardo has done pretty well.Accardo, who assumed the closer's role when B.J. Ryan was lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in mid-May, has saved a career-high 27 games this season. But manager John Gibbons said before Monday's game that Accardo seems a bit tired and he would likely use more of a closer-by-committee in the final 20 games of the season. "We'll back him off a little bit," Gibbons said. "There's no guarantee he's gonna be the guy to come in there and close everyday." Gibbons will now use several different options, depending on the situation. Casey Janssen, Scott Downs and even Brian Wolfe could all be used in the ninth inning, Gibbons said. "I don't mind it -- it's different," said Janssen, who was a starter throughout the Minor Leagues but has pitched out of the bullpen exclusively this season. "It took me a little bit of time to get used to. My arm -- which is the biggest thing -- has started to get used to it as well." Accardo is still in the mix to close, but Gibbons said he plans to tell him prior to each game whether he will use him that day. Accardo has blown five saves this season after he blew five last year, though that was in limited closer duty. "After losing B.J., where are we without him?" Gibbons said. Realistic goals: The Blue Jays have continued to use most of their regular players in September, though Gibbons said younger players could see more action in upcoming games. The Blue Jays are now 9 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League Wild Card standings. "Now it's really, really tough," Gibbons said of making the playoffs. "But for the integrity of the game, we've still gotta play to win. We'd expect the same thing from any other club." The Blue Jays face the Yankees in a three-game series, one that is pivotal for New York's playoff chances. It is also an important series for the Detroit Tigers, who trail the Yankees by four games and could use some help from Toronto. "When Baltimore comes to town this weekend, we'll see where we're at," Gibbons said. "We'll get some of the younger guys, probably, in those games." Gibbons on Granderson: Curtis Granderson, who became just the third player in Major League history with 20 homers, 20 triples, 20 doubles and 20 steals in a season when he stole his 20th base on Sunday, received a rave review from Gibbons. "He plays it right," Gibbons said. "Just a hard-nosed guy. Everything is full speed with him and he's a good defensive player." Granderson, who is the first player since Willie Mays in 1957 to record a quadruple-20 season, was not even represented on the All-Star ballot this season for the Tigers. Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, and Craig Monroe (who has since been traded to the Cubs) were the three Tigers outfielders on the ballot. "He'll be on it next year," Gibbons said. A bit of a homecoming: Janssen grew up in California and played in college out there as well, but he is also familiar with Michigan. Janssen began his first full season in the Minors in Lansing, Mich., with the Class A Lansing Lugnuts. "It was probably my favorite affiliate along the way," Janssen said. "Being close to Michigan State was fun too." Janssen made just seven starts with the Lugnuts in 2005, but went 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA and was swiftly promoted to the Blue Jays the next season. He became the first player promoted to the Majors since the Lugnuts became affiliated with Toronto in '05. "The stadium, the atmosphere, the location, it was a fun place to play," Janssen said. "We had enough to do where we had enough to do on our time off. There was a college atmosphere and, when we were younger, that was still relatable to us." Other famous Lugnuts in the Majors include Carlos Beltran, Carlos Zambrano, Corey Patterson and current Blue Jay Curtis Thigpen. Special ceremony: The Blue Jays will honor the six-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 in a pregame ceremony against the Yankees on Tuesday. Members of both the Toronto and New York Fire, Police and Emergency departments will join Yankees and Blue Jay players on the baselines prior to the game in a moment of silence. The Barenaked Ladies will perform both the Canadian and American national anthems after the moment of silence. The two sons of a Toronto native who died in the attacks will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Quotable: "That's Jay Gibbons -- not John Gibbons," -- the Toronto manager when asked if he had heard the human growth hormone (HGH) allegations against the Baltimore outfielder. Up next: Shaun Marcum (12-5, 3.74) will start on Tuesday in the Blue Jays return to Rogers Centre after a seven-game road trip. Rookie Phillip Hughes (2-3, 5.33) will start for the Yankees. Hughes gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings in his Major League debut on April 26 against the Blue Jays. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.