Toronto starters to pitch on short rest
Blue Jays take on Red Sox in crucial four-game series
CHICAGO -- One of the most pressing decisions facing Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston over the last week was whether or not he would start his pitchers on short rest against the Red Sox this weekend.
Well, the verdict is in, and it's a good one for optimistic Jays fans.
A.J. Burnett, Jesse Litsch and Roy Halladay all will pitch on three days' rest against Boston in a last-ditch effort to reach the postseason.
Sitting seven games out entering Thursday's series finale with the White Sox, the Blue Jays still have seven games to play against the Red Sox, which was reason enough for Gaston to make the decision.
Originally, Gaston was going to wait to see if his club could pull out three of four in Chicago, but the decision won't hinge on that any longer.
"Even if we don't win three out of four, we got Boston for seven more games," Gaston said. "If we can go in there and play well, it could be very interesting next weekend [when we face Boston again]. But don't jump over Baltimore, because as soon as you start thinking ahead, something will happen there. We got to be concerned about those guys, too."
Burnett and Litsch started the games in a doubleheader against the White Sox on Tuesday, and they will do so again on Saturday in another day-night twin bill.
Halladay, who was the losing pitcher on Wednesday night, will start the finale on Sunday.
When asked about the possibility of pitching on short rest, Litsch seemed enthused by the opportunity.
"That's something I would definitely be happy with," Litsch said Tuesday. "I've done it before. Not necessarily at the pro level, but in college, stuff like that. It's something to look forward to and it keeps you anxious. You want to get back out there as quick as possible, and that's a day quicker."
All three pitchers would remain on regular rest to face the Red Sox again the following weekend.
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.