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07/24/12 8:15 PM ET

Improved Morrow nearing rehab assignment

TORONTO -- Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow is progressing on his road to recovery.

The right-hander, who has been sidelined since mid-June with a left oblique strain, will throw live batting practice on Wednesday, and, if all checks out, will then be ready to take the mound for the first time since his injury.

"Providing all goes accordingly, [he] would begin a rehab assignment on Sunday," manager John Farrell said.

Morrow was forced to leave his start against the Nationals on June 11 following just nine pitches after feeling something in his side, which ended up prompting a visit to the disabled list.

The 27-year-old was Toronto's best pitcher at the time of the injury and was well on his way to a career season.

Over 13 starts, Morrow went 7-4 with a 3.01 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and three shutouts, after entering the season having only achieved that feat once before.

Farrell suspected that Morrow would need to make three-to-five rehab starts before the team would activate him, so a mid-August return would likely be a best-case scenario for the club.

Frasor dealing with inflammation in forearm

TORONTO -- Blue Jays reliever Jason Frasor had an MRI on his right elbow Monday that revealed no structural damage but rather inflammation in his forearm.

Manager John Farrell said the pain that Frasor is experiencing is in the inside of his elbow, but down from the joint itself, which is an encouraging sign. Frasor has dealt with his share of elbow troubles and has undergone two Tommy John surgeries in his career.

The right-hander, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, is in a no-throw program for the next two weeks -- meaning he will likely not come off the DL when eligible to return on Aug. 1.

Frasor felt pain in his arm for much of the season, but it got to a stage where he felt he needed to notify the team.

"Through his experience, I think he was very clear that it got to the point where the daily adrenaline rush, getting ready for a game, wasn't allowing him to get past the discomfort of getting warm," Farrell said. "So he made the appropriate decision to say what was there."

Frasor, who is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 36 innings this season, leads the Blue Jays with 42 appearances and 12 holds entering play on Tuesday.

Farrell mentioned throughout the season that he didn't want to overuse Frasor, or any of his late-inning relievers, but it appears his high-usage rate is what may have led to the discomfort the reliever is feeling.

"We certainly don't want anyone to think they have to be a hero, and yet at the same time, because of his experience, I think he is more readily able to distinguish between some soreness that guys pitch or play with versus pain, and his situation -- unlike others that have sustained injuries -- it wasn't in one pitch," Farrell said. "This is more of a cumulative workload that caught up with him."

Besides two months spent with the White Sox in 2011, Frasor has played his entire Major League career with the Blue Jays and is the club's all-time leader in appearances.

Blue Jays keeping their bench options open

TORONTO -- After going with an eight-man bullpen for over a month, the Blue Jays are currently using seven relievers, which has opened up a spot for another bench player.

Toronto used eight relievers, and a slew of different ones, after starters Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek went on the disabled list.

Following a trade with the Astros, which netted two relief arms in J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon, along with some more stability in the rotation, the Blue Jays have stopped carrying the extra bullpen arm.

"I think this gives us a lot more options in terms of what our starting lineup would be, and our flexibility within the game when you have four guys on the bench," manager John Farrell said.

The Blue Jays' bench consists of veteran Omar Vizquel, utility man Yan Gomes, backup catcher Jeff Mathis and speedsters Anthony Gose or Rajai Davis, depending on whether a left- or right-hander is on the mound.

Recent callup Travis Snider looks to have won the everyday role in left field, as evidenced by his inclusion in the starting lineup in Toronto's last two games despite the fact two lefties were on the mound.

Farrell says having an extra player on the bench allows him to implement more of a running game late, and allows the team to use a pinch-hitter more frequently than before.

The skipper also likes the idea of having a number of different starting lineups he can employ, and mentioned that when the team is facing lefties, he could use an outfield consisting of Gose and Davis at the corners. For now, Gose will start against right-handers and Davis against lefties.

Worth noting

• Jose Bautista, currently on the 15-day disabled list with left wrist inflammation, could start swinging a bat by the end of the week, according to Farrell.

Farrell said Bautista is recovering quicker than what the club initially envisioned, and that the slugger has had no discomfort when manipulating the wrist from side to side.

"He's making good strides," Farrell said. "The strength exercises he is going through are increasing."

• Right-handed closer Sergio Santos underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder on Tuesday. The operation was performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum in California.

Santos last pitched April 20 and will finish his first season in Toronto with a 9.00 ERA, two saves and two blown saves in six appearances after saving 30 games for the White Sox in 2011.

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