MLB trade deadline digest:

Scott Pianowski

Injuries, questions linger in Blue Jays bullpen

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We knew Toronto's bullpen was going to be messy simply by construction, but it's turning out to be a real nightmare as the central characters can't stay healthy.

Frank Francisco(notes), the man we all seem to like for the ninth inning and the save-grabbing, had a positive meeting with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday. According to John Lott of the National Post, Andrews didn't find anything structurally wrong with Francisco's wing, so it looks like the Toronto reliever could be back in mid-April.

Octavio Dotel's(notes) hamstring is apparently getting better; he worked a minor-league inning without incident Tuesday. The Jays think he could be ready for the opener, but nothing is guaranteed here.

Jon Rauch(notes) might have to open the year as the closer by default. Rauch has two things working in his favor: previous closing experience (if that matters to you) and more body ink than the city of Portland. He's also worked six scoreless innings this spring. Jason Frasor(notes) also should be mentioned; he was a short-term closer for this team back in the Rance Mulliniks/Garth Iorg days.

Hurry and place your bets before the croupier waves his hand.

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Image courtesy Associated Press

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