Jays notebook: Bullpen among MLB’s stingiest

Toronto Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen.

TORONTO – Two-thirds of the way through June, the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen is on pace for one of the stingiest months of relief work in big-league history.

Heading into Friday’s contest against the Baltimore Orioles, Casey Janssen, Brett Cecil and Co., had posted a collective ERA of 0.65 (four runs in 55.2 innings) in June, lower than that of any other bullpen over a single month dating back to 1921, according to Stats Inc.

The Orioles hold the current low-mark of 0.77 (six, 70.1) established in June 1965, followed by the San Francisco Giants at 0.85 (six, 63.1) in September 1968, the Tampa Bay Rays at 0.88 (seven, 71.2) last August, and the California Angels at 0.92 (six, 59.0) in August 1978.

The lowest bullpen ERA over a single month in Blue Jays history is 1.50 (nine, 54) in September 1992.

MEMORABLE MUNENORI: The looming return of Jose Reyes from the disabled list means the Blue Jays will soon have to make a roster move to clear space for him, and though the team is carrying eight relievers the thinking is Munenori Kawsaki will end up the odd man out.

Whether or not the Japanese infielder ends up being optioned to triple-A Buffalo, he’s certainly made an impression on everyone with his unique and quirky personality, perhaps the most colourful player in team history.

It’s a two-month stint that won’t soon be forgotten.

“He’s added a lot off the field, in the clubhouse,” manager John Gibbons said. “Teammates love him, fans love him, you can’t help it. And he’s contributed big time on the field with some hits here and there, good fundamental baseball, made some nice defensive plays, stole some bases. He’s a heads-up player and does everything right.”

The Blue Jays signed him to a minor-league deal during spring training that is believed to pay him roughly $12,000 a month in the minors, and between $500,000-$600,000 in the majors.

The Blue Jays have a $1-million club option on him for 2014, which if declined allows him to opt for free agency.

REYES REHAB: The plan for Jose Reyes’ rehab was to have the all-star shortstop play nine innings in each of this weekend’s game at triple-A Buffalo before evaluating where he’s at physically.

The thinking is he could rejoin the Blue Jays in time for the start of Monday’s seven-game road trip through Tampa Bay and Boston, but Reyes hadn’t played nine innings since his injury before Friday and hadn’t played a day game after night the way he would Saturday and Sunday.

MINOR MATTERS: Top prospect Aaron Sanchez returned from the disabled list to throw three shutout innings for single-A Dunedin against Daytona. He allowed one hit and struck out three. Sanchez hadn’t pitched since May 18 because of a minor shoulder injury. … The Blue Jays promoted outfield prospect Kevin Pillar to triple-A Buffalo from double-A New Hampshire and moved infielder Andy Burns up to the Fisher Cats from single-A Dunedin.

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