7/25/2013 12:30 A.M. ET
Happ, Santos nearing return from injuries
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have five pitchers rehabbing injuries in the Minors, all of them in varying stages of a return.
Among the closest to full health are the duo of J.A. Happ and Sergio Santos.
Happ, who is one or two starts away from rejoining the big league club, pitched four innings in a rain-shortened game with Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, allowing only a single earned run on three hits and two walks, while striking out three.
However, his right knee still isn't fully healed.
"When he moves off the mound, it's still not 100 hundred percent," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "Obviously he can go out there and pitch, but it's still a little stiff at times."
Santos pitched a scoreless inning on Tuesday with Buffalo, and was scheduled for another inning on Wednesday, marking his first back-to-back appearances since having bone spurs removed from his right elbow.
The trio of Luis Perez, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchinson, who have all undergone Tommy John surgery in the past year, are all pitching and nearing a return.
Drabek has made five starts with Class A Dunedin, and is close to moving up to Double-A New Hampshire.
"The last two or three have been very good, command's been good. He's been 92-94 [mph]," Anthopoulos said. "Maybe an outing or two more we'll get him up to New Hampshire. We're watching his innings just coming off of the second Tommy John."
Hutchinson, also in Dunedin, has only made two appearances, one of them starting, and the club is looking for his command to improve before making any decisions regarding him.
He has only pitched a high of 2 2/3 innings, and has averaged more than a walk per inning.
Perez is expected to start a rehab in early August, and is expected to be among those called up in September, if not sooner.
Continued soreness leaves Morrow's season in doubt
TORONTO -- Brandon Morrow's potential return to the Blue Jays has taken a turn for the worse.
Originally, Morrow's right forearm soreness was considered a minor ailment, but even general manager Alex Anthopoulos isn't sure when, or if, the club will have Morrow on the mound again this season.
"It's hard to be [optimistic] at this point, to be honest," Anthopoulos said Wednesday. "We're still not sure with him when he's coming back.
"Morrow still isn't feeling right. So we're going to get him examined again. We've gotten MRI's done before, but he just doesn't feel 100 percent."
Morrow has been on the disabled list since June 1, and has not pitched for the club since leaving two innings into his start against Atlanta on May 28.
The 28-year-old right-hander last threw in a game with Class A Dunedin on June 17, and was shut down with the same issue. He was supposedly feeling better and had begun throwing side sessions two weeks ago, but the soreness in his forearm continues to linger.
"We're going to give him a little more rest," Anthopoulos said. "It's one of those things it might just need rest. He's a lot better than he was, and he feels better, but he still doesn't feel like it's 100 percent.
"The odd part is that we've taken MRIs, we've done all those type of things, and we haven't been able to pinpoint anything other than inflammation. It might be one of those things that it just needs a lot more time than we hoped and thought."
Morrow has only made 10 starts this season with Toronto, and his current ailment is his second battle with health problems this year, after dealing with upper back and neck tightness earlier.
Health has always been the biggest issue for Morrow, who started the year as the club's No. 2 starter. This marks the fourth consecutive year in which he has spent some time on the disabled list since joining the Blue Jays in 2010.
Perez's scoreless-innings streak ends at 22 1/3
TORONTO -- In Tuesday's disappointing 10-9 loss to the Dodgers, reliever Juan Perez became engrained in Blue Jays history.
After tossing a scoreless ninth inning, Perez broke a 35-year-old club record for most consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to begin his Blue Jays career.
The left-hander had thrown 22 straight scoreless innings heading into Wednesday's contest, surpassing the previous mark of 21 1/3 innings set by Victor Cruz between June 24-July 31, 1978.
"He's done a great job for us," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
However, that streak ended in Wednesday's 10-inning, 8-3 loss to the Dodgers. Perez entered a 3-3 game in the 10th, and after striking out Skip Schumaker to extend the record to 22 1/3 innings, he proceeded to allow five earned runs, including home runs off the bats of Mark Ellis and Yasiel Puig.
"Sooner or later he was going to give up some runs," manager John Gibbons said. "He made a mistake in the middle of the plate and the ball went a long way. That's what normally happens to everybody."
Although Anthopoulos had no expectations that the veteran lefty would maintain a 0.00 ERA throughout the season -- which jumped to 1.96 after the loss -- Perez's performance prior to the blowout earned high praise from the club's general manager.
"Juan Perez, right now, he's not going anywhere. He's been too good for us," Anthopoulos said.
Perez is out of Minor League options, so a move to bring up Sergio Santos, or any of the cavalry of arms returning to health in the system, would mean exposing Perez to waivers, something that Blue Jays are unlikely to do.
Sooner or later, a decision will need to be made on Santos, whose rehab period ends on Aug. 2, but it's a position that the general manager actually likes to be in.
"I love to be in that position, that all of our players are playing so well that you have too many good players [in the big leagues]," Anthopoulos said.