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06/24/08 6:48 PM ET

Marcum likely out until All-Star break

With favorable schedule, Jays could go with four-man rotation

TORONTO -- Shaun Marcum's right elbow injury isn't serious enough to require surgery, but it's still going to likely keep the Blue Jays' pitcher sidelined for at least three more weeks.

On Tuesday, Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi indicated that the club plans on being extra cautious with Marcum's recovery, meaning the right-hander will probably make his comeback at the start of the season's second half.

"I think Marcum will be back right after the All-Star break," Ricciardi said. "We'll be able to pencil him in maybe as the fifth starter. If he can come a little sooner, that'd be great, but we're not going to push him."

Marcum, who has been one of the Jays' most consistent starters this season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday and is eligible to be activated on July 4. Marcum's return is going to require more time than that, considering he's only beginning a throwing program on Saturday.

Fortunately for Toronto, the team's schedule includes off-days on July 3 and July 7, allowing the team to mainly stick to using four starters. The Jays will need a starter for Saturday's game against the Braves, but a fifth starter won't be needed again until July 12.

"We can keep everybody on turn," Ricciardi said. "Everybody will make their starts. We'll bring up one guy to make a start on Saturday and then we'll go from there. The nice thing is with the off-days, we can keep the rotation in turn."

Toronto hasn't announced who will get the call for Saturday's start, but Ricciardi said the "front-runner" for that promotion is left-hander John Parrish. In 15 games, including 11 starts, at Triple-A Syracuse, Parrish is 10-1 with a 2.74 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 82 innings.

Marcum, who ranks first among American League starters with a .198 opponents' batting average and third with a 2.65 ERA, has been dealing with minor pain in his right elbow for the past couple weeks. On Monday, Marcum was examined by renowned arm specialist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Andrews confirmed what Toronto's medical staff had already determined, that Marcum was suffering from strained ligaments around his elbow and forearm, noting that surgery wasn't necessary.

"That was really good news," Ricciardi said.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.