Sergio Santos is leaving Toronto, but the Blue Jays hope his absence is temporary.
The Blue Jays designated the right-handed former closer for assignment Monday, which meant putting him on waivers because he was out of minor league options.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos hopes the 31-year-old can get back into major-league form while pitching for triple-A Buffalo, provided he clears waivers Wednesday.
"The way to get things worked out is to go throw some innings," Anthopoulos said. "We hope this is a quick move, get some innings, get hot and come back because we certainly could use the help."
Santos hadn't been helping the Blue Jays much lately, giving up five earned runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings over his past four appearances. He issued four walks in that time, and Anthopoulos singled out a lack of command as the biggest issue.
Because of that, and because Toronto is chasing down the American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles, there haven't been many opportunities for manager John Gibbons to help Santos out by putting him into games.
"It's tough to find spots to find that groove a little bit," Gibbons said. "He's a little out of whack right now, but it's tough to find him work."
Santos is making $3.75 million US, which could deter other teams, even those searching for bullpen help, from claiming him off waivers. Anthopoulos didn't want to discuss the odds of Santos making it through.
What the Blue Jays' GM made clear was that Santos was still very much wanted, adding that he wouldn't explore trade options. Anthopoulos also said Santos, who has a 7.78 earned-run average in 24 appearances this season and briefly filled in for injured closer Casey Janssen, had not asked to be traded.
"He's a very accountable guy, he knows he hasn't pitched to his ability," Anthopoulos said. "He knows he can be a dominant closer, setup guy, whatever is needed. I think like anybody he's got all the belief in the world in himself and he'll be fine. He'll get it back."
In his place, the Blue Jays recalled left-handed reliever Rob Rasmussen from Buffalo. In two previous call-ups this season, the 25-year-old allowed four earned runs in six innings while striking out seven.
With Rasmussen on the 25-man roster in place of Santos, the Jays have just two right-handed relievers ahead of Janssen in Dustin McGowan and Todd Redmond. They have four lefties in Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Brad Mills and now Rasmussen, but Anthopoulos said he was not concerned about the lack of balance there.