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After rough start, Rogers gives Toronto a boost

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CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays got a pair of much-needed innings out of right-hander Esmil Rogers during Saturday afternoon's 5-0 victory over the Indians.

Toronto entered the game with five of its relievers -- Sergio Santos, Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil, Neil Wagner and Todd Redmond -- unavailable to pitch. It was a less-than-ideal situation that was made easier to handle because of seven-plus innings from left-hander Mark Buehrle.

There was still a need for someone to come in from the bullpen and close things out. Rogers entered with a pair of runners on and nobody out in the eighth inning, but managed to record the final six outs without any major issues.

"He was outstanding. I think he kind of simplified all of his pitches," Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro said. "We went with a 1-2 combo, fastball-slider and it worked out pretty good."

Rogers has gotten off to a rough start this season, so any positive outing he has can be considered a step in the right direction. He has already given up four home runs in just 10 1/3 innings, and that has caused the club to hesitate before using him in any close ballgames.

Prior to Saturday's game, he had gone five full days without pitching in the bullpen. He still gave up a very deep fly ball in the eighth, but managed to escape without any runs crossing the plate and according to Navarro, his slider was one of the main reasons why.

"He was throwing the backdoor to lefties ... and the fastball has some life to it," Navarro said. "He hit 95 a couple of times, and it was nice to have him bounce back like that, and he's going to help us out a lot throughout the whole season. He has what it takes and he needs to keep throwing the ball like that, and his confidence will start building up again."

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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