BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays remain optimistic that right-hander Sergio Santos will be ready when Spring Training officially opens in February.

Santos was acquired during the offseason to serve as the closer, but managed to pitch in just six games before going down with a right shoulder injury.

The hard-throwing reliever attempted to avoid surgery with a lengthy rehab, but when the discomfort refused to subside, he was eventually forced to go under the knife.

"At the time of the surgery, the prognosis and the timeline was to have him ready at some point in Spring Training," manager John Farrell said. "Whether that's game-ready by mid-schedule, that will all be determined when we start getting into more regular activity off the mound."

Santos is in California going through rehab workouts three times a week. He's still unable to throw and is limited to strengthening and range of motion exercises.

The plan is for Santos to begin a throwing program in early December. That falls in line with the Blue Jays' offseason routine for all of their pitchers, which is one of the main reasons why the club is hopeful he'll be back to normal when camp opens.

Santos allowed five runs in five innings while recording two saves. He was acquired from the White Sox for pitching prospect Nestor Molina.

Gose receiving chance to win left-field job in '13

BALTIMORE -- Rookie outfielder Anthony Gose is receiving an extended look in left field as the Blue Jays attempt to determine whether he is an option for 2013.

Gose was originally called up in the middle of July, but spent the vast majority of his time in right field to replace the injured Jose Bautista. Recently, though, most of his work has come in left.

The purpose behind the switch is that the Blue Jays are still uncertain who will be their everyday guy in left next season and are trying to get as much of an evaluation on Gose as possible.

"That's exactly what it is," manager John Farrell said. "For us to get as accurate of a read as we can and give him time in innings played at that position ... sure, there's a direct view of him in that position."

Gose struggled during his initial stint, but has looked more comfortable since rejoining the club as a September callup.

Entering Tuesday, the 22-year-old was hitting .263 with a .333 on-base percentage while recording six stolen bases and being caught just once in September. His approach at the plate is a work in progress, but the Blue Jays like what they have seen.

Typically, numbers posted in the season's final month have to be taken with a grain of salt because of the expanded rosters and Minor Leaguers getting extended playing time at the next level.

That's still the case this year, but Farrell believes the numbers are a little more realistic because of Toronto's current schedule where 20 of its 29 games this month are against teams competing for a spot in the postseason.

"Without a doubt," Farrell said. "As we felt last night, or you feel in Tampa, or certainly in New York, it's a different atmosphere when you're playing a team in the place they are in the standings and what they're competing for.

"It is more of an accurate read, it's not your traditional September callups against callups in a Major League setting. We're getting the best thrown at us, evident by the type of stuff that's coming off the mound in any one of these series."

Villanueva back to normal, set for Wednesday start

BALTIMORE -- Blue Jays right-hander Carlos Villanueva's health is back to normal after reports earlier this week that he was dealing with some fatigue and discomfort.

Villanueva, who is set to hit free agency at the end of the season, allowed seven runs in just 2 1/3 innings during his last start against the Rays.

The next day, manager John Farrell indicated that Villanueva was feeling more discomfort than usual, but it wasn't entirely surprising at this point in the season.

"He's back to normal," Farrell said. "He is ready to start [Wednesday] and on tap for that. But as we've stated other times, too, this time of year guys are dealing with some general fatigue and that's no different in this case."

Villanueva has two starts remaining in what has been an impressive season. The veteran righty is 7-6 with a 3.88 ERA, but has excelled the most since being moved into the rotation in late June.