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Toronto swaps Santos for closer by committee

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Toronto swaps Santos for closer by committee play video for Toronto swaps Santos for closer by committee

PITTSBURGH -- Sergio Santos is out as the Blue Jays' closer, and the job will instead be handed to a committee of at least three people.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons made the announcement just one day after Santos surrendered two home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to blow a 5-3 lead against Pittsburgh. It was Santos' third blown save and second loss in his past six appearances.

Toronto will not have an official closer until Casey Janssen returns from the 15-day disabled list at some point within the next two weeks. In the meantime, the Blue Jays will go with either Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil or Steve Delabar, depending on matchups.

"The situation we're in we told them to be ready at any time," Gibbons said. "I told Sergio he can go anywhere from the sixth, seventh or eighth inning. But they have to just get ready when we get into the middle of the game, it's really too tough to narrow it down."

Santos was the logical candidate to take over for Janssen, who began the year the DL with a strained oblique muscle and has yet to pitch this season. Santos had previous experience, with 30 saves for the White Sox in 2011, and he was originally acquired to fill that role with the Blue Jays before an injury cost him most of the 2012 season.

His first four save opportunities this season went relatively well, but the problems began on April 17 in Minnesota. Santos entered with two runners on base and proceeded to walk all three batters he faced and issued three wild pitches en route to a blown save.

It has been an adventure ever since. Santos has allowed a combined nine runs, seven hits and seven walks over his past four-plus innings of work. The final straw came Friday night, when he allowed a two-run homer to Pedro Alvarez and a solo home run to Starling Marte in Toronto's 6-5 loss.

"He's part of the team; we're going to need him before it's all said and done," Gibbons said. "So the key is we have to show some confidence in him, and hopefully he regains that himself. You're going to need them all, maybe take a little bit of pressure off him right now, it doesn't take long and he's back to what he was."

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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