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Tallet back to 'pen for Rzepczynski

Tallet back to 'pen for Rzepczynski

TORONTO -- Left-hander Brian Tallet's stint as a starter is coming to an end for the time being, as rookie Marc Rzepczynski will start on Saturday. It would have been Tallet's turn to pitch on Saturday, but the Blue Jays are opting to move him back to the bullpen, where he started the season.

Tallet, who has been a staple of the Jays' bullpen since 2006, often pitching in a long-relief role, has been pitching in the rotation since mid-April because of injuries to Toronto's starters. He has posted a 5-6 record with a 4.86 ERA in a starting role.

Rzepczynski has made only two Major League starts, but he has pitched well in both outings, allowing a combined four runs on seven hits in a pair of six-inning starts.

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Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said the reasons for the move were two-fold: Tallet has taken on a workload much greater than he's used to and his return to the bullpen would strengthen Toronto's relief corps.

"We need some help in that bullpen now, as far as left-handed pitchers," Gaston said. "He should just make that bullpen stronger. ... It's nothing he did wrong, it's just that we need to have somebody back down there."

With 103 2/3 innings pitched, Tallet has surpassed his previous season high by more than 40 innings.

While the Jays' bullpen has not been bad, the relievers have had to take on a bigger share of the workload this year to help out a young and inexperienced pitching staff.

Through Thursday, the Jays' bullpen had put up an ERA of 3.99, good for seventh in the American League. Last year, Toronto relievers led the AL with a 3.49 ERA.

Going into Friday's game, five of Toronto's last seven losses had been charged to the relievers, and the Jays are now without the services of former closer B.J. Ryan. The left-hander was released earlier this month after a poor first half, leaving Jesse Carlson and closer Scott Downs -- who came back from a toe injury just over a week ago -- as the only left-handed arms in the 'pen.

"I think that Tallet did a great job for us -- he really did -- filling in," Gaston said. "But I know that we could use him in the bullpen, because Jesse's really been used a lot out there."

Gaston plans to use the team's four off-days over the next three weeks to pitch on a four-man rotation on a temporary basis, keeping Tallet in the bullpen and moving him to the rotation when needed.

"He might pitch on [July 25] because we need someone else to go there," Gaston said. "He goes back in at that point -- just that one day. We have enough off-days that you can get by without having a fifth starter for a while."

Some more rotation-juggling could be in order later in the season, as Gaston may look to limit the number of innings the young arms on the pitching staff throw this year. There are three rookies in Toronto's rotation at the moment -- and there will be a fourth when right-hander Scott Richmond returns from the disabled list -- and the Jays want to avoid taxing pitchers not used to heavy workloads.

"[Ricky] Romero's fine -- I think he's going to be able to pitch his innings, [but] we're certainly going to watch him," Gaston said. "But guys like [Brett] Cecil, who hasn't thrown a lot of innings -- Rzepczynski, he's a guy that we have to watch, too.

"We're going to run the kids out there and see what they can do for a while, and if it gets to be too much -- too many innings piled up on those guys, we've got five days off in the next month, which should be OK, to get some of those guys a day off here and there. Month of September, we have one day off, so that's when you might be looking for maybe a six-man rotation or something like that."

Pitching matchup
TOR: LHP Marc Rzepczynski (0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Rzepczynski put up another quality start in Baltimore on Sunday, but he was tagged with the loss. In his second Major League start, Rzepczynski allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits in six innings. He issued three walks against five strikeouts, giving up a home run to Orioles designated hitter Oscar Salazar in the sixth inning. The rookie threw 94 pitches in the outing, 59 for strikes.

BOS: RHP Brad Penny (6-3, 4.71 ERA)
With 17 starts, Penny has already matched his season total from a year ago with the Dodgers. The right-hander has surrendered three runs or fewer in nine of his past 10 outings dating back to May 20, going 3-2 with a 3.45 ERA over that span. Penny is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and a 15/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in three career starts at Rogers Centre.

Bird Feed
Gaston said Richmond, who went on the 15-day disabled list on July 5 (retroactive to July 1) with a right shoulder injury, may be back in time for the team's trip to Oakland at the end of the month. "He might make it back by Oakland -- maybe," Gaston said. ... Center fielder Vernon Wells missed Friday's game due to illness. "[He's] just under the weather -- a little sick," Gaston said. "As far as we know, it's just a stomach flu or something. Hopefully [it's] nothing." ... The Blue Jays have signed Ryan Goins, the team's fourth-round pick (130th overall) in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Goins, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound shortstop from Dallas Baptist University, is the 27th player the Jays have signed from this year's Draft, including four from the top 10 rounds. ... John McDonald replaced David Dellucci, who left after taking a pitch off his foot earlier in the game, in left field in the eighth inning of Friday's game, marking McDonald's first Major League appearance as an outfielder. The 11-year veteran has made appearances at every infield position except first base in his 645-game career, and never played in the outfield as a Minor Leaguer. Gaston said Dellucci will go for X-rays to determine the severity of the injury.

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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SNET

On radio
• FAN 590

Up next
• Sunday: Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 10-3, 2.85) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester, 8-6, 3.87), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Blue Jays (Brett Cecil, 3-1, 5.40) vs. Indians (Cliff Lee, 5-9, 3.31), 7:07 p.m. ET

Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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