Notes: Burnett lands on DL again

Notes: Burnett lands on DL again

TORONTO -- Prior to Saturday's game, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons leaned back in his chair inside his office and offered a simple explanation for Toronto's quick roster decision.

"The game doesn't wait on you," Gibbons said.

The Blue Jays, who are in the midst of a long stretch of games against division rivals and playoff-caliber teams, couldn't afford to go forward short one pitcher on the roster, especially after Friday's 12-inning contest against Boston stretched the bullpen thin. So, after starter A.J. Burnett had his right elbow injury flare up in his start versus the Red Sox, Toronto wasted no time in placing the pitcher back on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this year.

Toronto called right-handed reliever Shaun Marcum up from Triple-A Syracuse and scheduled an appointment for Burnett to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday. Andrews is the same doctor that performed the Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery on Burnett's right arm in 2003.

Burnett said the pain that he experienced on Friday was the same as the pain he felt on March 18, when he had to cut a Spring Training start short and landed on the DL to start the season. The initial indications are that this second episode could be the same problem -- a case of scar tissue breaking off in his elbow. Many pitchers who undergo the Tommy John operation will have similar problems with scar tissue later on.

Having two instances where scar tissue breaks off during such a short period of time isn't usually normal, but the team is hoping Andrews can give Burnett some confidence that the pain isn't anything to get too worked up over. It could just be soreness that Burnett can pitch through, but the team won't know much more until he sees Andrews.

"They don't seem to think there's anything structurally wrong," Gibbons said. "So whatever it is -- maybe scar tissue -- it may be something where it comes to the point where he's just got to pitch with it. I don't know. If it's affecting his pitching, that's different."

Burnett has had three MRIs that show no damage to the ligament and the tests he had performed on him by a team doctor after his most recent start also indicated no problems in the joint.

"We're doing everything we're supposed to do medically," Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "If the guy tells you he's hurt, you have to respect that. You've got to go with it, but we're not alarmed. ... He had an X-ray that didn't show any separation in the joint. The doctor gave him strength tests, and everything was fine."

Why Marcum? Burnett's injury, coupled with three extra innings, forced the Blue Jays to use seven pitchers on Friday. Toronto used six relievers -- right-hander Pete Walker was the only pitcher not to see any work out of the bullpen. Those factors all helped the Jays' decision to call Marcum up from Syracuse.

"He's ready," Ricciardi said. "He can give us a couple innings. Our bullpen needs a little help."

Marcum has the ability to pitch multiple innings if needed, considering he has been used as a starter in the Minors in the past. This year, Marcum has been used as a reliever and he went 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four games at Triple-A. In nine innings of work, Marcum struck out 13 and walked two.

"He's got four pitches and he throws them all for strikes," Gibbons said. "He can pitch. He came through the system fast and we liked him when we drafted him. He's very similar to Pete Walker's style of pitching."

Last year, Marcum made five appearances for the Blue Jays and gave up no runs in eight innings.

Another move coming: Marcum may just be a temporary solution to help out the bullpen. Gibbons and Ricciardi both said that they don't want to move left-handed reliever Scott Downs back into the rotation. Downs began the year as a starter during Burnett's first stint on the DL, but Toronto doesn't want to deplete its bullpen by doing the same thing twice in such a short period of time.

Toronto will probably call up a starter from Triple-A to fill in on either Thursday or Friday. Burnett was originally scheduled to pitch on Thursday, but the Jays could bring Halladay back after his usual four days of rest to start that game. The team was considering giving Halladay an extra day off, but the Burnett situation might force the issue.

The most likely candidates from Triple-A to join the rotation would be right-handers Casey Janssen and Josh Banks -- the two pitchers mentioned when starter Ted Lilly was dealing with a minor back injury earlier this year.

Lending a hand: During the current three-game series with Boston, volunteers will be stationed in and around Rogers Centre to accept monetary or equipment donations for the Jays Care Foundation's glove drive. The drive is being held to benefit children who are a part of the Rookie League, which is a program run by the Blue Jays and Toronto Community Housing to provide a league for underprivileged kids.

Coming up: Toronto right-hander Josh Towers (0-3, 9.24 ERA) will take on Boston righty Matt Clement (1-1, 7.00 ERA) when the Blue Jays host the Red Sox at 1:07 p.m. ET on Sunday at Rogers Centre.

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