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Notes: Jays just trying to protect Ryan

Notes: Jays just trying to protect Ryan

ARLINGTON -- General manager J.P. Ricciardi's admission that he deliberately misled the media about the nature of closer B.J. Ryan's Spring Training injury has caused little stir in the Jays' clubhouse. But manager John Gibbons said Saturday he hoped it did not set a precedent that will damage club officials' credibility with the public.

"I hope it doesn't," Gibbons said. "The intentions were good."

During a radio interview Thursday on the FAN 590, Ricciardi revealed that an initial public statement in March claiming that Ryan had injured his back was intentionally falsified. The club knew then that Ryan was experiencing elbow trouble, but the GM decided that misdirecting the media would better spare the pitcher from daily questions about his status.

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"It was his elbow that was bothering him," Ricciardi told the FAN 590. "We said it was his back so he could have a little bit more time. There are a lot of things we do not tell the media, because the media does not need to know it and the fans do not need to know it."

Gibbons admitted Friday he went along with the ruse because manipulating injury information can sometimes "take the heat off an individual."

Ryan opened the season with the Jays but landed on the disabled list for the first time in his career on April 15, one day after walking the first three batters he faced and blowing a save chance against Detroit.

Ryan flew to Birmingham, Ala., where renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews confirmed there were no ligament tears in Ryan's elbow. The pitcher was told to rehab his arm without throwing for four weeks and was expected to miss at least six weeks. The Jays shifted Ryan from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list, pushing a possible return back until at least mid-June.

Ryan went 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA and 38 saves last season, the first under his five-year, $47 million (U.S.) contract with Toronto.

Battle royale: It's not exactly Godzilla versus Mothra, but a big Japanese showdown looms Wednesday at Rogers Centre.

Gibbons confirmed his starting rotation plans for the Boston series, and they include sending right-hander Tomo Ohka (2-3) to the mound in the second game of the series to oppose Red Sox import Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-2). It is a matchup sure to draw huge interest from Japanese media outlets.

Wells returns: Center fielder Vernon Wells was back in the lineup Saturday, after missing the past two games with an upper-respiratory infection.

"I'm sure he's gong to be a little weak," Gibbons said, "but we need him."

Wells said he lost six pounds while battling the virus over the previous five days, and still wasn't feeling top grade.

"I've had fever, chills, congestion, fluid in my ears -- good times," Wells said. "I'm still not 100 percent, but I'm better than where I was when I tried playing in Cleveland [on Wednesday]. I think I came back too soon then and wore my body back down and made it worse."

Wells entered Saturday batting .301 with four homers and 17 RBIs in his 26 games played. He remains four home runs shy of moving into the Jays' all-time top five. Lloyd Moseby currently ranks fifth with 149 home runs for Toronto.

Philosopher Gibby: Four teams entered Saturday trailing the AL East-leading Red Sox by 6 1/2 games. Toronto, Tampa Bay and Baltimore were each 13-16, and the New York Yankees were percentage points behind at 12-15.

So, Gibbons was asked whether he looked at that as being in second place or being tied for last? Was he a glass half-empty or half-full kind of guy?

Gibbons chuckled, thought it over, then answered in Zen Master fashion: "There is no glass."

Make of that what you will.

Santos impressing: Shortstop Sergio Santos, who came to the Jays as part of the Troy Glaus trade with Arizona, continues to tear up the Double-A Eastern League. Santos hit two home runs Friday, including a game-winning, two-out walk-off shot, to lead New Hampshire over Bowie.

Santos, 23, spent the previous two seasons at the Triple-A level, but went back down after batting just .214 last year at Syracuse. He currently leads the Eastern League in home runs (nine), doubles (10), extra-base hits (19) and slugging percentage (.720).

Up next: RHP A.J. Burnett (2-2, 5.45) will pitch in the finale of this three-game series and six-game road trip when he opposes Rangers RHP Kameron Loe (1-2, 7.04) at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday. First pitch is set for 3:05 p.m. ET.

Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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