Loup close to beginning rehab assignment

Loup close to beginning rehab assignment

SAN FRANCISCO -- Blue Jays left-hander Aaron Loup is on the road to recovery and is expected to begin a rehab assignment Saturday with Class A Advanced Dunedin.

Loup has yet to appear in a big league game this season after he strained the flexor tendon in his left elbow during Spring Training. He was originally scheduled to begin the year as Toronto's second lefty out of the bullpen.

The 28-year-old Loup tossed an inning at extended spring training Wednesday morning.

"He pitched one inning in a game today, 10 pitches," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Wednesday morning. "He looked good. The plan is to evaluate him tomorrow morning. If there are no problems, he will be scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday in Dunedin."

What will happen when Loup is activated off the 15-day disabled list is not immediately clear. He has an option remaining and could be optioned to the Minors at the conclusion of his rehab but there's also a chance Loup will go straight to the Major Leagues.

Chad Girodo is currently Toronto's second lefty in the bullpen. Veteran Franklin Morales was signed to a one-year contract after Loup went down with an injury, but he's currently on the DL with shoulder fatigue and there is no timetable for his return.

If Loup recovers before Morales is ready, then he'll likely rejoin the Blue Jays. If the two pitchers return around the same time, the club ultimately will have to pick between the two for a spot on the big league roster. It seems extremely unlikely Toronto would carry both pitchers with lefty Brett Cecil also firmly entrenched on the 25-man roster.

Loup has spent parts of four seasons in the Majors. He has a 3.11 ERA with 176 strikeouts and 52 walks over 211 career innings at the big league level.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. 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.