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05/14/09 11:36 PM ET

Blue Jays activate Ryan from DL

Veteran lefty returns to 'pen, but Downs will remain closer

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays activated left-handed reliever B.J. Ryan from the disabled list after Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Yankees, optioning left-hander Bill Murphy to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room on their roster. Ryan will join the Jays on Friday as the team begins a four-game series against the White Sox at Rogers Centre.

Ryan, who signed a five-year, $47 million contract with Toronto in 2006 to be the team's closer, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his left trapezius on April 23. He struggled in six appearances this season, recording an 11.12 ERA with eight hits allowed and five walks issued in 5 2/3 innings.

Earlier this week, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi and manager Cito Gaston both said that Ryan will not be the closer for the time being. Instead, Scott Downs, who took over when Ryan was sidelined, will continue to fill that role.

"Ultimately, I think B.J. will get back to being a closer at some point," Ricciardi said on Tuesday. "But right now, Downs has got the role and it's tough to argue with the club playing so well. That's the thing that you respect about B.J. -- he's a team guy and he understands that."

Ryan was 0-1 in three rehab appearances with Class A Dunedin, giving up one earned run on one hit and a walk in three innings. He was scheduled to make another rehab appearance with Dunedin on Wednesday, but the game was rained out so he threw a simulated game instead. In Ryan's last Florida State League outing, he pitched one inning and retired all three batters he faced.

"Last time out he struck out two," Gaston said. "He got to 88, 89 mph and it looked like he had good command. We can't keep him away forever, so hopefully he can come back and help us."

Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.