Chacin still not ready for bigs

MIKE RUTSEY

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Gustavo Chacin will not be returning to the Blue Jays any time soon.

In fact, the bald Venezuelan lefty who bears a striking resemblance to former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, was optioned to triple-A Syracuse yesterday as he continues to progress from shoulder problems that have kept him on the sidelines since April 28.

On July 23, Chacin made his first rehab start for the Chiefs, allowing three earned runs on five hits in three innings.

So why not keep him on the DL and give him rehab starts instead of the roster move?

"His rehab is going to take a little longer, so we just wanted him to get as many starts as he possibly can get without any kind of pressure," general manager J.P. Ricciardi said yesterday. "In two starts, he's not going to be ready to come up here and pitch, especially as well as these guys (his current five starters) have pitched.

"I just don't think he'll be ready to step up here (in the foreseeable future) and be as effective as these guys are pitching right now."

A.J. Burnett, the Jays' other wounded pitcher, threw a three-inning simulated game yesterday afternoon.

"They say he felt fine," Ricciardi said.

"I think Wednesday he'll be able to pitch in the Florida State League (Dunedin) and if everything goes well, the following Monday he'll probably pitch in a triple-A game (Syracuse) and we'll just keep evaluating after every time he throws. If he's ready, we'll hopefully get him up here."

ZEROING IN

When the Twins scored Wednesday in their 13-1 pasting by the Jays, it snapped a string of 37 consecutive scoreless innings caught by Gregg Zaun. The streak set a Jays record, eclipsing the previous high of 27 innings set by Ernie Whitt in 1983. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last receiver to catch at least 37 consecutive innings was Javy Lopez in 1998.

SICK-BAY

First baseman Lyle Overbay was not in the lineup last night because of flu-like symptoms. Matt Stairs took his place at first.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

"Sweet, he wears us out. I'm glad he got traded." -- C Gregg Zaun's reaction to the pre-game news that the White Sox had traded second baseman Tadahito Iguchi to the Phillies.

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REPORT CARD

C At the plate: Other than in the fourth when they scored three runs, the Jays were back into the habit of stranding runners.

C Starter: Josh Towers allowed four runs on seven hits in five-plus innings but with a little luck it could have gone better.

C Bullpen: Lefty Brian Tallet was called on to hold the fort in the seventh but he allowed two Josh Towers runs to score on a double.


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