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Santos enjoying success upon return to 'pen

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NEW YORK -- Sergio Santos passed his first big test since returning from the 15-day disabled list by pitching a pair of scoreless innings on back-to-back days earlier this week.

Santos received a well-deserved day off on Thursday after making appearances during each of Toronto's first two games in the series at Yankee Stadium. It was the type of heavy workload that Santos wasn't able to go through in his rehab assignment because the Blue Jays needed him back sooner than originally anticipated.

The good news is that Santos' velocity didn't drop after pitching on consecutive days and he has some positive outings to build upon after struggling earlier this year before going on the disabled list with a forearm injury.

"That was good to see," manager John Gibbons said prior to the series finale. "The original plan before he came back, he was going to throw on that Saturday and Sunday and then we called him back. So, we wanted to get him back-to-back games to see how he felt. So that was big. You won't see him tonight, but he's looked good."

The plan during Spring Training was to have Santos as the primary setup man for closer Casey Janssen. Santos was then forced into a ninth-inning role when Janssen was unable to start the year because of an oblique injury, but Santos quickly fell down the depth chart after blowing three saves in the span of two weeks.

By the time Santos was placed on the disabled list during the middle of May, he was without a defined role. That appears to still be the case as Santos could pitch anywhere from the fifth inning until the eighth depending on the situation.

"I don't know where he ends up, but he just makes us stronger down there," Gibbons said. "With [Dustin] McGowan, with [Aaron] Loup, we can go any way. If we need somebody in the sixth inning. Loupy, he's probably as versatile as anyone in the game, so you can pitch him anywhere. He's durable."

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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