Gibbons has options with upcoming matchups

Toronto could skip struggling Hutchison with 4 off-days this month

Gibbons has options with upcoming matchups

TORONTO -- With four off-days coming up this month, the Blue Jays could get a little creative with their starting rotation. But, for now, manager John Gibbons hasn't tipped his hand.

The assumption is that Toronto would use some of the down time to skip right-hander Drew Hutchison at least once or twice this month. Hutchison has an impressive 10-3 record this year but that masks a bigger issue -- his 5.42 ERA.

"With all of these off-days, it's much better for the position players that's for sure because there's so many of them," Gibbons said Thursday afternoon. "We were looking at it earlier today, the big one is Philly with those two out of four days off. We're kind of discussing that right now."

Hutchison, who has struggled to find consistency all season, is tentatively scheduled to make his next start on Tuesday against Oakland. Toronto could instead decide to move him back one day and start Mark Buehrle on normal rest for that series opener. That would allow the Blue Jays to have Hutchison miss the following weekend series against division-rival New York.

Toronto then has three off-days during the span of a week. The Blue Jays are off on Aug. 17, then travel to Philadelphia for two games, followed by an off-day on Aug. 20. They then play a three-game set against the Angels with another off-day before a three-game road series in Texas.

That means Toronto could go about 17 days this month without needing a fifth starter, if it chooses to go that direction.

"Three off-days in what, a week?" Gibbons asked. "That's where it gets a little tricky, or complicated, but we're not there yet."

The only firm committment Gibbons made about his rotation is that No. 1 starter David Price will start Saturday in New York and then won't pitch again until the following Friday. That will give him an extra day of rest before the opener of a three-game home series against the Yankees.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.