Janssen begins rehab assignment

Janssen begins rehab assignment

PHILADELPHIA -- Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen began his rehab assignment with Double-A New Hampshire on Monday night by tossing one scoreless inning.

Janssen has yet to pitch in the Major Leagues this season because of a strained oblique muscle. He allowed a pair of singles and also induced two groundouts and a pop fly for the Fisher Cats.

The veteran right-hander is expected to make at least a couple of more appearances in the Minor Leagues before the Blue Jays consider bringing him back. The original plan was for Janssen to make five rehab appearances, but manager John Gibbons admitted earlier this week it might not take that long.

Janssen would provide a major upgrade to Toronto's bullpen, which has been reeling for the past two weeks. Sergio Santos began the year as Toronto's interim closer, but recently lost the job after blowing three save opportunities and being charged with a pair of losses.

In Toronto's last 17 games entering play Monday, the bullpen has lost a lead of two-plus runs on seven occasions. Dating back to the second game of a doubleheader in Minnesota on April 17, Toronto's relievers have combined to allow 41 earned runs on 56 hits and 33 walks over the course of 50 1/3 innings.

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