OAKLAND -- It's been a long two weeks for J.A. Happ.
After the Blue Jays acquired the left-hander in a 10-player trade with the Astros on July 20, the team placed the career starter in its bullpen, not yet ready to determine which member of the rotation would lose his spot to make room for the new acquisition.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos made the situation clear to Happ as soon as the trade was made, but that didn't make it any easier for the lefty -- who has made 90 starts out of 110 total appearances in his six years in the big leagues -- to deal with.
But with Brett Cecil's demotion on Friday, Happ is finally a starter again. He'll make his Blue Jays starting debut on Thursday against Tampa Bay. Though he said he was both shocked and disappointed when he found out his initial role, he's ready to move forward.
"Luckily, I was able to stay patient, and hopefully things work out here and hopefully I'll be able to stay in the rotation for a long time," Happ said before Saturday's game against the A's.
Since he hasn't made a start since July 16, Happ won't be fully stretched out for his outing. But he said he's "going to try to not be too overly concerned with that," and be as economical with his pitches as possible.
That issue is nothing compared to the frustration Happ felt while toiling through four bullpen appearances, not knowing when the temporary move would end. He was able to clear the air a bit with Anthopoulos and manager John Farrell this week, which alleviated some of the issues. But he was still eager to start again.
Happ will remain available in relief for the next two games, since Toronto's bullpen is a bit taxed after Friday's 15-inning affair. But after that, it's back to the rotation, seemingly for good.
"It was [frustrating], definitely," Happ said. "Kind of leading up to the Deadline, kind of wondering if something was going to happen, and then especially after that, trying to make sense of everything. Again, just glad to get the opportunity."