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Extra off-days give pitchers a chance to rest

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CHICAGO -- The Blue Jays' starting rotation could use a breather, but this week might be taking it to the extreme.

Toronto has three off-days within the span of a week. The first came after a recent series in Seattle with another pair on the way Monday and Thursday.

A day off would normally be a welcome break for a staff that includes veterans R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle plus rookies Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman, but in this case it might be too much of a good thing.

"I'd rather have them spread out a little bit to be honest with you," Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker said. "I think when you get three within eight days, that's probably too much. But at the same time, it's not going to hurt us.

"The bullpen could use a breather, the starters at this stage of the season it can't hurt. But there's no question you'd like those days spread out a little bit so there aren't too many days between starts."

Toronto contemplated skipping a starter but ultimately decided to keep everyone on turn. That means each pitcher will make one start on an extra day's rest and an addition outing on an extra two days' rest.

The danger is that could be enough time away to throw everyone off their routine just a bit. The one benefit is that it will rest the arms of a staff that could fatigue down the stretch as neither Hutchison nor Stroman have ever tossed this many innings in their career.

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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