Notes: Jays moving past Ryan issue

Notes: Jays moving past Ryan issue

TORONTO -- It took roughly five minutes, but the question finally came up.

In his first first face-to-face meeting with the Toronto media since admitting he intentionally misled the public about closer B.J. Ryan's elbow injury, general manager J.P. Ricciardi was asked to explain his reasoning. Ricciardi declined to comment on the issue, responding simply with, "No," when prompted to shed some light on the situation.

During Spring Training, Ricciardi and the Blue Jays staff indicated that Ryan was sidelined for more than two weeks because of a back injury. During a radio call-in show on the Fan 590 AM in Toronto on Thursday night, Ricciardi admitted that Ryan never had a back problem. The elbow injury that has since landed the left-hander on the 60-day disabled list was always to blame.

Ricciardi did add on Tuesday that he wasn't worried about the repercussions of his actions. Paul Godfrey, the president and CEO of the Blue Jays, has also publicly defended Ricciardi's decision, which the GM said during the radio show was intended to protect Ryan from constant questions from the media during the spring.

"Either you believe me or you don't. That's your choice," Ricciardi said on Tuesday. "Just check the track record. Everybody that's been hurt here, we told you what the problem was. ... We told you B.J Ryan's elbow was hurt after he got hurt."

Toronto manager John Gibbons, who went along with Ricciardi's decision to initially withold information about Ryan's injury, also said he wasn't worried about any fallout from the issue. Gibbons' only regret seemed to be that the media might question what he says in the future.

"It's a shame that it comes to that, but I can't be concerned with that right now," Gibbons said. "I've got too many other things to worry about than how I'm perceived. I'm a pretty up front, honest guy. You all know that. I always have been."

Ryan, who saved 38 games for Toronto last year, landed on the DL on April 15 with a strained ligament in his left elbow. The Blue Jays don't expect the All-Star closer to be available until mid-June at the earliest. Ryan is 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA and has three saves in five chances this season.

Leading off: After tinkering with the leadoff spot over the past four days, Gibbons decided to put right fielder Alex Rios back at the top of the order against Boston on Tuesday. The move paid off quickly: Rios led off the home half of the first inning with a solo homer to center field.

The blast snapped Toronto's four-game hitless streak by its leadoff hitters. Second baseman Aaron Hill spent time at the top of the order in three of the last four games, going 0-for-13 at the plate. Left fielder Adam Lind went 0-for-5 at the top on Friday, which was his third game this season as the leadoff hitter.

"We're just going back to [having Rios lead off]," said Gibbons, who slotted Lind and Hill in the second and seventh holes, respectively. "Hill was thriving where he was before. We tried him up there, but we'll put him back to where he was rolling pretty good."

Rotating things around: Monday's off-day won't affect Toronto right-hander A.J. Burnett's schedule. Burnett will stay on his five-day program and is slated to start on Friday in the opener of a three-game home set against the Devil Rays. Gibbons said that right-hander Dustin McGowan, who last started on Thursday, will take the mound again on Saturday, and Victor Zambrano is scheduled to start the finale versus Tampa Bay on Sunday.

In closing: Gibbons wasn't willing to name his go-to reliever if Tuesday's game led to a ninth-inning save situation for the Blue Jays. Right-hander Jason Frasor has been inconsistent as Toronto's temporary closer and Gibbons is weighing his options for the role. Other candidates for potential save opportunities include righty Jeremy Accardo and lefty Scott Downs, neither of whom have allowed an earned run, entering Tuesday.

Did you know? When Toronto's Tomo Ohka and Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka square off at Rogers Centre on Wednesday, it'll mark the first time that two Japanese-born pitchers faced each other since June 19, 2002. In that game, Ohka started for Montreal against Mac Suzuki and Kansas City.

Quotable: "We'll swim together and we'll sink together. That's just the way the game is. This is our team and it's still a good team." --Gibbons, on Toronto's recent losing streak

Coming up: Ohka (2-3, 5.50 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for Toronto when the Blue Jays host the Red Sox at 7:07 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Rogers Centre. Boston will counter with Matsuzaka (3-2, 5.45 ERA).

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