Jays demote Francisco Cordero, Casey Janssen to close

The Toronto Blue Jays demoted struggling closer Francisco Cordero, a day after he surrendered a game-ending grand slam to Brandon Inge in a 7-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
Jays pitcher Francisco Cordero walks off the field after surrending a game-ending grand slam against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

Francisco Cordero understands why he is no longer Toronto's closer. That doesn't mean he likes being demoted one bit.

The Blue Jays moved the struggling Cordero to middle relief on Wednesday, a day after he surrendered a game-ending grand slam to Brandon Inge in a 7-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

"I think it's the right decision because I ain't doing my job," said Cordero, a 14-year big league veteran who turns 37 on Friday.

"They don't have to wait and just sit there and look at me blowing some games when we're trying to win. This is a tough division. I think the Blue Jays did a great job putting the team together trying to win the division and go to the playoffs. If I keep doing what I'm doing right now, we ain't going anywhere."

Manager John Farrell met Wednesday morning with Cordero (1-2), who has 329 saves but has blown his last three opportunities and has only converted two of five chances this season. He allowed eight earned runs over his last 3 1-3 innings.

Casey Janssen will handle the ninth-inning duties for now.

"We're going to back him out of that role and give him more opportunities in the middle of the game and he may get more frequent use to get him on a little bit of a roll," Farrell said of Cordero.

"Coco's understanding of it. The most important thing is he's accountable. He's a standup guy and understands the decision and need to go in this direction."

Janssen has closed at times, and Farrell likes how he attacks left-handed hitters, controls the running game and throws strikes.

"It's bittersweet. You never want to see anyone struggle," Janssen said. "I'm excited that he believes in me and I'm ready to help the team in any way possible. ... I'm feeling a lot better with my stuff and I'm ready to take on this challenge. You can definitely lean on a guy like (Cordero), and at the same time if he gets hot I'm sure he's right back in there. Hopefully we can get him going."

Adam Lind was moved from the cleanup spot to eighth in the batting order for Wednesday's series finale with the A's. He went 0 for 4 Tuesday, was hitless in seven at-bats and had just two hits in his last 29 at-bats. Lind was mired in a 5-for-37 funk.

"I was upset as a competitor."

Also before the game, Farrell spoke with catcher J.P. Arencibia. Omar Vizquel pinch hit for him in the top of the ninth Tuesday night with the go-ahead run on third and a runner at first.

"I was upset. I was upset as a competitor," Arencibia said. "Throughout my career I've always driven in runs, I've always been the guy in those situations. I feel like that's when I thrive. As far as the decision, he's our manager and I support any decision. All I want to do at the end of the day is win. That's all I care about. What I told him, hopefully in a future situation I'm looked upon as a guy they want in that situation 10 out of 10 times. As a player does it kind of rattle your head a little bit? Yeah, it does."

Arencibia, batting .354 with a homer, five doubles and 10 RBIs over his last 15 games, also said he lost sleep over the decision. Vizquel popped up.

"J.P. believes in himself, and we all believe in J.P.," Farrell said. "We met this morning, talked through some things on the thought process leading up to that. We all recognize that over the last 12 to 14 games, he has swung the bat, but I thought in that situation against the matchup of a high fastball pitcher, the ability to have another option or two with being able to bunt or safety squeeze as a possibility or hit and run a little bit was the overriding thought in that situation."

Cordero believes a few good outings -- even one solid performance even -- could help get him back on track from problems Farrell said are related to "confidence and the mental side."

"I'm more than happy to do what they tell me," Cordero said. "It's me. They gave me a chance and I'm not doing my job. I'm not happy with the decision but I have to be honest to myself and say,

'You're not doing your job, and if you're not doing your job you're not going to be in the closer's role -- or you're not going to have a job."'