Jays tweak rotation, split McGowan and Morrow

Arash Madani caught up with Jays closer Casey Janssen for an update on his injury, says he's working hard to get back, but also staying in his comfort zone in order to avoid any setbacks.

TORONTO – R.A. Dickey will start Thursday’s series finale against the Houston Astros after the Toronto Blue Jays decided to push Dustin McGowan back a day to split him from Brandon Morrow in the rotation.

While the extra day of rest for McGowan is a benefit, it also gives the Blue Jays an extra element of reliability between their two power right-handers, who have battled injury to different degrees throughout their career.

“They’re two guys we’re watching a little bit,” manager John Gibbons said Tuesday. “You can put Dickey in the middle and he can eat up some innings. We’ve been thinking all along that we have that off-day, this is something we might do to break those two guys up.”

Morrow starts Wednesday against the Astros while McGowan gets the opener of a three-game series in Baltimore on Friday.

REYES ON THE RUN: Jose Reyes tested his injured left hamstring by running on a treadmill and moving side-to-side while taking grounders Tuesday, with how he feels afterwards to guide the next steps in his progression.

The star shortstop is eligible to come off the disabled list April 16 but whether or not he’ll be ready by then is unclear. While he’s hitting and fielding, the real test comes when he tries to turn on the jets.

“I’ll know better when I start running,” Reyes said of a possible return date. “I’m going to start slow and see how I’m feeling. Then we’re going to pick it up (Wednesday). Basically it’s day-by-day.”

Defensively, he added, the primary challenge is “going side-to-side, going to the left, to the right.”

He’ll need a rehab assignment before his activation.

JANSSEN TO THROW SIDE: Closer Casey Janssen came out of his light bullpen session Sunday feeling good and will intensify things in another side session Wednesday.

While he’s experienced no setbacks, he’s being cautious with the strain in his side because “I feel like it could be gone but I don’t know for sure.”

Every day he’s trying to test it a bit further and the challenge he’s facing is “staying within that comfort zone while progressing.”

Janssen is eligible to come off the DL on April 13 but is likely to need a few days beyond that. He’s expecting a rehab assignment with one or two outings.

SHORT HOPS: J.A. Happ starts Thursday in a rehab assignment at triple-A Buffalo and what happens to him after that is unclear. “We’ll see how that one goes,” said manager John Gibbons. … Catching prospect A.J. Jimenez is on the disabled list at double-A New Hampshire after exiting a game on the weekend with a hamstring injury. It’s not considered serious.

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