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04/13/08 3:36 PM EST

Blue Jays activate Ryan from DL

Closer says he's available to save Sunday's game if needed

ARLINGTON -- Toronto activated closer B.J. Ryan from the disabled list on Sunday. The left-handed Ryan has not pitched since April 14 last year after undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament reconstructive surgery on May 10.

"I kept getting pushed back, but you can't do too much to fast," Ryan said. "It helped going down there, and I'm starting to feel better and better each day."

The Blue Jays optioned Brandon League to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Ryan.

Ryan said his fastball and slider got progressively more effective during his four rehab appearances for Class A Dunedin, when he allowed a run on three hits over four innings with four strikeouts. Last season, Ryan appeared in only five games with two blown saves before having Tommy John surgery.

Prior to that, though, Ryan, 32, was one of the top closers in the game. In 2006, he saved 38 games and in 2005 with Baltimore, he saved 38 games in 42 chances prompting Toronto to sign him to a five-year, $47 million contract.

Ryan said he was able to close on Sunday, if needed. But he was more excited to just get out of Class A ball, where buying meals for the team was beginning to add up.

"That was killing me," Ryan joked. "I think I was getting more ribbing in Class A than I do here. But I'm excited to get back."

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that Ryan would be used every other day before he feels comfortable throwing back-to-back games. Right-hander Jeremy Accardo, who has three saves in four opportunities this season, will still serve as a part-time closer until Ryan is fully healthy.

With Ryan at closer, the Blue Jays bullpen now features three right-handers and three left-handers.

"You don't see that anywhere," Gibbons said. "Lefties are so hard to find to begin with. It's a good thing. But our lefties can also get out righties and our righties can get out lefties."

The 25-year-old League appeared in two games for the Blue Jays, allowing two runs on two hits over 2 2/3 innings.

"For his future and our organization's future, he's got to go down there and pitch," Gibbons said. "You don't want him to sit in the bullpen and rot. He'll go down there and be a priority guy and get some work. He just needs to find his groove. ... Get his groove back."

Drew Davison is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.