TORONTO -- Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen is making progress in his rehab from a strained lower back, but it appears unlikely that he'll be able to return when eligible on Sunday.
Janssen, who started the season on the 15-day disabled list, was originally hoping to be ready for a return by the end of the Blue Jays' upcoming away series in Baltimore, but that no longer appears to be the case. Janssen, who threw a bullpen session Sunday and will throw another on Wednesday, is taking a cautious approach. He said he doesn't plan on rushing back into the lineup.
"I threw 25 [pitches on Sunday], so probably right around the same number," he said of his pitch-count limitations. "Increase the intensity level ... that's kind of the objective more than anything else."
The 32-year-old right-hander will likely go on a brief rehab assignment of one or two games before he receives clearance to come off the DL. He said coming back a day too late is better than a day too early.
"I'll have to go down to rehab somewhere, but hopefully shortly thereafter," he said. "The hardest part is staying within that comfort zone, but still progressing. You want to go fast, but you don't want to go fast and have a setback. That's the tricky part."
Shortstop Jose Reyes, meanwhile, was scheduled to run on the treadmill Tuesday night. He's been out of the lineup since sustaining a strained left hamstring in his first at bat in Tampa Bay on Opening Day. The hamstring hasn't been giving him any problems when he's swinging -- it's running that's a concern.
"I'll start slow today, and see how I'm feeling," said Reyes, who's eligible to come off the DL April 16. "Then I'm going to pick it up tomorrow, and go day by day."
Blue Jays move Dickey up, push McGowan back
TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey will swap his next start with Dustin McGowan, bumping the ace's next appearance ahead one day.
He was originally slated to start against Baltimore on Friday, but will now pitch the day before.
Manager John Gibbons said the rotation shuffle allows the Blue Jays to avoid fielding hard-throwing pitchers -- McGowan and Brandon Morrow -- in back-to-back starts. It also puts a proven veteran arm between two pitchers that are still in the process of proving they can get deep into games.
"Those are two guys we're watching a little bit. You put Dickey in the middle and he can eat come innings," said Gibbons before the Blue Jays' Tuesday night game against the Astros. "We decided this a few days ago, but we've been thinking about it all along ... to break those two guys up."
An extra day of rest could be beneficial for McGowan, who was hit hard in Toronto's home opener against the Yankees April 4, when he allowed four runs on eight hits over 2 2/3 innings. McGowan was tipping pitches in his first outing -- a problem he's since been working to fix with pitching coach Pete Walker. Another day off could also give McGowan some more time to make sure that issue is resolved.
"[They've] been trying to eliminate that," said Gibbons. "He's aware of it, now it's just correcting it. It's the position of his hands, basically just being conscious of it. It's tough in the full competition of a game sometimes ... but normally it's not that tough to adjust."
Lind makes rare start against left-handed pitcher
TORONTO -- Blue Jays designated hitter Adam Lind got a rare start against a left-handed pitcher Tuesday night against the Astros.
Lind, a left-handed hitter, would typically get a day off in the DH spot in favor of Dioner Navarro or Moises Sierra, but instead batted in the No. 2 spot. Center fielder Colby Rasmus dropped from No. 2 to No. 7 in the batting order.
Manager John Gibbons said starting Lind made sense because Astros' starter Brett Oberholtzer is typically more effective against right-handed hitters. Righties batted .219 against Oberholtzer last year, while lefties fared markedly better with a .280 average. In one start this season, left-handed batters are hitting .400 against Oberholtzer, while righties are batting .200.
"This guy has been tougher on right-handers, and Lindy has been off to a good start," Gibbons said before the Blue Jays' game against the Astros on Tuesday night. "Colby, not much production yet, so drop him down."
Gibbons wouldn't commit to the batting order change beyond Tuesday's game. Lind was batting .308 (4-for-13) through six games heading into Tuesday, while Rasmus had started the season just 2-for-23, good for an .087 average through seven games.
"We're trying to piece it together and find out what works best, but you never really know until you get everybody rolling a little bit," he said.
Lind's numbers against lefties haven't been very good throughout the course of his career. He batted .208 (20-for-96) against left-handed pitching in 2013.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.