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Loup viewed as situational lefty, not long reliever


LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Blue Jays' Opening Day roster is almost set in stone, but one of the few jobs still up for grabs can be found in long relief.

Toronto has a slew of candidates for its final spot in the bullpen. There is an interesting mix of younger arms and relatively proven veterans, which lead to a challenging decision for manager John Gibbons.

The candidates include the likes of Brett Cecil, Brad Lincoln, Jeremy Jeffress, J.A. Happ, Justin Germano and Dave Bush. One name absent from that list is left-hander Aaron Loup.

"We're looking for a long guy," Gibbons said. "Loup's not necessarily a long guy; he's more a situational, one-inning guy, but we're looking for that guy, multiple innings."

Just because Loup is not in the mix for the long-relief role does not necessarily mean he will be left off the 25-man roster. Gibbons mentioned several times Wednesday that there was just one job up for grabs, but that runs contrary to previous statements about there being two vacancies.

Gibbons did not elaborate, but that could mean one of the roster spots has been decided. Lincoln would certainly be a candidate for that as well, but considering Loup's track record in 2012, it is possible he is the mystery candidate.

Loup was one of the Blue Jays' most valuable relievers last year following his midseason callup. The Louisiana native posted a 2.64 ERA while striking out 21 in 30 2/3 innings.

Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver, Esmil Rogers and Steve Delabar are the five relievers who will undoubtedly head north if they are healthy at the end of Spring Training.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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