TORONTO -- J.P. Howell's time with the Blue Jays is all but officially over, after the veteran lefty was designated for assignment on Wednesday.Toronto now has seven days to place Howell on waivers and work out a trade, release him or outright the reliever to the Minor Leagues. Catcher Mike
TORONTO -- J.P. Howell's time with the Blue Jays is all but officially over, after the veteran lefty was designated for assignment on Wednesday.
Toronto now has seven days to place Howell on waivers and work out a trade, release him or outright the reliever to the Minor Leagues. Catcher Mike Ohlman also was designated for assignment, but he's expected to rejoin Triple-A Buffalo once he clears waivers.
The moves were made to create room on the 25-man roster for catcher Miguel Montero and reliever Dominic Leone. Montero was activated from the 10-day DL after being out since Aug. 2 because of a strained groin, while Leone spent three days on the bereavement list.
"Really, what it came down to, we needed a couple of guys who could throw multiple innings [out of the bullpen]," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "[Howell] really wasn't doing that, and at this stage, he couldn't do that too often.
"The guys at the end of the 'pen have been throwing a lot, so we needed a couple of guys who could at least eat up some innings to get us through a game and bridge the gap when the other guys need a break."
Howell signed a one-year, $3 million contract during the offseason and was expected to be Toronto's primary lefty out of the bullpen, but it never really worked out. He hit the disabled list after the first week of the season, and despite returning in late April, he eventually missed an additional two months later in the year because of shoulder issues.
Howell made 16 appearances and pitched just 11 innings for the Blue Jays this season, allowing nine earned runs on 13 hits while striking out six and walking seven.
"He's an old pro," Gibbons said. "It was tough. He has been around the game for awhile. He's one of the best guys I've ever been around. So it was hard. He took it like a champ, but it was hard."
Gibbons said it was too early to say how he would divide the playing time behind the plate. Montero is expected to at least partially share time with Raffy Lopez until Russell Martin returns from his oblique injury.
• Right-hander Aaron Sanchez is expected to resume throwing within a few days, as he continues to work his way back from a blister on his right middle finger. Gibbons recently floated the idea of bringing Sanchez back as a reliever for the remainder of the season with him running out of time to salvage a season that has been limited to eight starts because of the blister.
"He's going to start throwing in the next few days," Gibbons said. "I'm not sure which day it is, but I would expect it to happen soon."
• Second baseman Devon Travis also continues to work his way back from injury. He has been out since June 4 following surgery on his right knee. Travis has been taking ground balls, running the bases and doing some light fielding, but it's still not clear when he might be ready to start a rehab assignment.
"He's building up, but I have no idea when he might be back," Gibbons said.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.