Atkins expresses confidence in bullpen

Atkins expresses confidence in bullpen

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' bullpen has performed well below expectations this year, but general manager Ross Atkins remains confident his club doesn't need to look outside the organization for additional help.

Atkins believes his team has enough pieces in place to figure things out internally. He pointed to the pending return of injured left-hander Aaron Loup plus the improving health of Brett Cecil and Franklin Morales as the main reasons why.

Loup was scheduled to make another rehab appearance for Triple-A Buffalo on Friday night in what could be his final game before he's activated off the 15-day disabled list. Cecil and Morales also appear to be making some progress, but they likely won't be available for at least another couple of weeks.

"We actually have some decent internal options and guys who have already been here," Atkins said when asked about the bullpen. "[Ryan Tepera], Loup is getting healthy, obviously there's other guys that were here in Franklin Morales and Brett Cecil that we feel pretty good about helping us at some point.

"Those are solid alternatives. I've said it before, I don't want to be too redundant, I still feel really good about Drew Storen being a great piece to the solution and a player that's making a significant contribution for us in September as we push for the playoffs."

Toronto's bullpen entered play on Friday night having allowed 45.5 percent of inherited runners to score, which is ranked second to last in the Major Leagues. Blue Jays relievers also are tied for the most losses (13) and they are 23rd in opponents' batting average (.259).

With the exception of closer Roberto Osuna, Rule 5 Draft pick Joe Biagini and right-hander Gavin Floyd, most of the bullpen has struggled. Even Floyd has experienced his issues this season but for the most part he has been reliable and has secured his spot as Toronto's primary set-up man.

Tulowitzki returns to lineup

As expected, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki made his return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Friday night. Tulowitzki missed the previous two games because of tightness in his right quad. He likely could have played Thursday in New York, but manager John Gibbons wanted to take a cautious approach and instead gave him an extra day of rest.

Dome opens for the first time

The Blue Jays played Friday night's game against Boston with the roof open at Rogers Centre for the first time this season. It was previously closed because of cold temperatures and because of tests that needed to be run to make sure the roof was functioning properly for the season.

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.