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Santos gets back in track in minors, waits for Blue Jays to call him back up

Toronto Blue Jays reliever Sergio Santos follows through on a pitch to the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Baltimore on April 11, 2014. When the Toronto Blue Jays sent reliever Sergio Santos down to the minors, general manager Alex Anthopoulos figured the righty just needed to iron out some things and would be back soon. Santos has allowed one hit and no runs in six appearances for triple-A Buffalo but is frustrated the Blue Jays haven't talked to him about coming back. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky

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Toronto Blue Jays reliever Sergio Santos follows through on a pitch to the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Baltimore on April 11, 2014. When the Toronto Blue Jays sent reliever Sergio Santos down to the minors, general manager Alex Anthopoulos figured the righty just needed to iron out some things and would be back soon. Santos has allowed one hit and no runs in six appearances for triple-A Buffalo but is frustrated the Blue Jays haven't talked to him about coming back. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky

BUFFALO, N.Y. - When the Toronto Blue Jays sent Sergio Santos to the minor leagues, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said he wanted the reliever to pitch some innings and "get back on track."

Santos is definitely back on track. In 6 2/3 innings over seven appearances since being assigned to triple-A Buffalo, the right-hander has given up just one hit and no runs.

"I feel like I'm in a good place," Santos said Tuesday night after recording two outs to pick up a save. "I feel a lot better attacking the zone with my fastball, and the command of my fastball has been a little bit better. I'm not kind of missing over the plate, I feel like I'm getting thirds, whether it's the inner or outer half."

Satisfied with his performance with the Bisons, Santos has been left to wonder why the Blue Jays haven't called him back up to the majors or given him any indication on when they might.

"I haven't had any communication with them, which has been a little frustrating at times because I feel like I've ironed some of the things out that I needed to iron out and I'm just waiting for that opportunity to go back out there and hopefully do what I'm doing here," Santos said.

In Santos's place, the Blue Jays have blue-chip prospect Aaron Sanchez, who is one of five right-handers in the bullpen along with closer Casey Janssen, Chad Jenkins, Todd Redmond and Dustin McGowan.

The Blue Jays designated Santos for assignment on July 21, and once the 31-year-old cleared waivers he went to Buffalo. Anthopoulos said Santos hadn't pitched well but still possessed dominant stuff that needed to be refined with some more work than he was getting.

"We hope this is a quick move, get some innings, get hot and come back because we certainly could use the help," Anthopoulos said at the time.

Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons pointed to Santos's fastball command as something that needed to improve. Even with 17 walks in 19 major-league innings this season, Santos felt like he handed out more good ones than bad ones but also cut down on free passes since being sent to the minors.

"The command, I think for me, was I felt like my fastballs were just catching a little too much of the plate," he said. "I feel like I've kind of figured that out a little bit."

Santos has a 7.78 earned-run average in 24 appearances for the Blue Jays this season after putting up a 1.75 ERA in 2013. As management pointed out, he struggled with an inconsistent workload.

"It's just the consistency of throwing," Santos said. "I was (up) there, didn't throw for 10 days, threw three pitches, waited another week and then threw a third of an inning. It's just really hard to get in a groove, get in a rhythm when you're throwing so sporadically."

Still, Santos was taken aback by the decision to designate him for assignment because he thought he "threw a lot better than the numbers say."

The numbers in Buffalo tell the story of a reliever with plenty of confidence: nine strikeouts and four walks with a couple of saves for his trouble.

"It (was) just a matter of getting back and knowing what I'm capable of, knowing what I can do and just a matter of going out and proving it," Santos said.

Note — On Wednesday the Blue Jays claimed left-handed reliever Colt Hynes off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and announced he will report to Buffalo.

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