"Especially when you look at how he threw at the end of 2008," Anthopoulos said. "He was sent down and when he came back, his velocity increased, and I think it really started to click for him."
Litsch won 13 games for the Blue Jays in 2008 and went 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA over his final nine outings that season. The right-hander made just two starts in April of last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June.
Litsch, who is eligible to be activated from the 60-day DL on June 4, posted a 1.80 ERA over 15 innings in two rehab outings with Class A Dunedin. The righty was roughed up in his first rehab start with Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday, allowing eight runs on 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Anthopoulos said Litsch's situation is similar to Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum, who missed all of last year after underoing Tommy John surgery. Marcum is now Toronto's No. 1 starter and has gone 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA through nine starts this season, ranking second in the American League with 62 innings.
"I think he's a guy just like Marcum, who has come back and looked great," Anthopoulos said. "Litsch is a very good athlete, just like Marcum is. I'm hopeful, and I expect him to come back just as good as he was at the end of 2008."