CLEVELAND -- A four-day break leading into Friday's American League Championship Series opener (8 p.m. ET on TBS in the U.S., Sportsnet and RDS in Canada) came at a perfect time for Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna, who says he is now rested and ready to take on whatever challenges the Indians may present.
Osuna was forced to exit the AL Wild Card Game with soreness in his right shoulder, then he took on a heavy workload in the AL Division Series against the Rangers, firing two scoreless, hitless innings to pick up the victory in the deciding Game 3 as the Blue Jays advanced to the ALCS.
Though Osuna was unavailable for Game 1 of the ALDS, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons called upon the 21-year-old to record a five-out save in Game 2 before asking for six outs two days later, which he delivered while striking out a pair. Osuna said that he hasn't felt any discomfort since about just after the Wild Card Game.
The Blue Jays expect to have Francisco Liriano restored to the roster on Saturday, but with setup man Joaquin Benoit still sidelined, a rested Osuna figures to be crucial.
"In our particular case, our bullpen definitely needed some time off," Gibbons said. "Some of our position players are banged up, and we're not young, young, either. I think it will be more of a benefit.
"[Osuna] came out of the Wild Card Game with a tender shoulder, but in that Texas series, [he had] a couple of outings [of] multiple innings, two innings, and no signs of any ill effect. But I think these four days will do him, as much as anybody, some good."
Osuna said that he and Gibbons have not yet spoken about how often he might be used in the ALCS, but Osuna is operating as though the bullpen phone will be ringing at some point each night.
"I'm going to try to be ready every day," Osuna said. "Obviously this is really big for both teams, and I know Gibby is going to need me. I'm going to try to do as much as I can to make myself ready for every night."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.