ryan-bj-090708

B.J. Ryan signed a five-year, $47-million US deal with Toronto in 2006. ((Getty Images file))

The Toronto Blue Jays have finally had enough.

The Jays released struggling lefty B.J. Ryan on Wednesday, marking the completion of his long spiral downward from his role as Toronto's shut-down closer.

The 33-year-old lost the closing role with the club this year and eventually wound up on the disabled list.

He is 1-1 with a 6.53 earned-run average so far in 2009, and is only 2-for-4 in save situations.

"He was not going to be our closer, we didn't foresee him being our closer next year," Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi told The Canadian Press.

"It's our job to make professional evaluations and from the player we evaluated to sign to the player we have now, it's two totally different guys, and we just don't think he's going to be the pitcher he was when we signed him."

It is a far cry from 2006, Ryan's first year with the club. That's when he had a sparkling 1.37 ERA and was 38-for-42 in save opportunities.

But Ryan, who signed a five-year, $47-million US deal with Toronto in 2006, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in May of 2007 and was never the same.

His ERA jumped to 2.95 in 2008, his first year back in action with the club.

"In the role we have for him, he's not going to be effective for us," Ricciardi said. "This gives him a chance to get on with his life and it gives us a chance to move on."

Scott Downs will take Ryan's place on the roster, as Toronto activated him from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.

He's done well as the Blue Jays closer when he's been put into the role. Downs is 8-for-9 in save situations with a 1.98 ERA over 27 1/3 innings.