Rauch taking over as Blue Jays' closer

Rauch taking over as Blue Jays' closer

TORONTO -- Jon Rauch will serve as the club's closer for the time being as the team tries to give incumbent Frank Francisco some time to sort out his game.

Francisco leads the team in saves with 10 but has given up five earned runs over his last three outings, including a blown save against the Phillies on July 1 and a disastrous outing against the Indians on July 7, when he was tagged for three earned runs and did not retire a batter.

But the team has faith that Francisco can find his groove, as the two rough outings sandwiched a strong appearance in Boston on July 4, when he struck out the side for a save.

"I think it's important, as we did with Frankie earlier on, to get some outings under his belt to continue to build some momentum with him," manager John Farrell said on Thursday. "That's not to say that he won't close for us at some point, but I think for tonight and the time being that's the way we'll look to set up."

Rauch, meanwhile, has seven saves on the year and has closed in the past, serving in that role for Minnesota for part of the 2010 season. For the Blue Jays this year, he is 3-3 with a 4.34 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings.

The 32-year-old entered the July 9 game against the Indians with a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, but surrendered a leadoff single and a double in blowing his third save of the season. It was the only save opportunity he had in more than a month since his last save, on June 7 against the Royals.