ANAHEIM -- The Blue Jays continue to search for the reasons behind Josh Johnson's prolonged struggles on the mound, but one answer could be a nagging knee injury that won't seem to go away.
Toronto manager John Gibbons revealed earlier in the week that Johnson has been dealing with tendinitis in his left knee but wasn't in danger of missing any time.
The thought was that Johnson should be able to pitch through the soreness, but so far the positive results have proven to be elusive. Whether or not Johnson's woes are directly related to the knee injury is up for debate, but starting catcher J.P. Arencibia has taken notice.
"I know he has been battling with his knee too, and I think there's something to say when you're landing at that front knee and it's barking, it's not an easy thing to pitch with," Arencibia said.
Johnson has allowed at least five runs in all but one of his past seven starts. Since June 23, he is 1-6 with an 8.84 ERA while allowing 56 hits and 13 walks in 37 1/3 innings.
The results at the beginning of his recent outings have been even worse. The 29-year-old has allowed 21 runs during the first two innings of his past six starts and seems incapable of settling into any type of groove.
Arencibia said he's noticed Johnson dealing with the injury before every start, and although the fourth-year catcher stopped short of saying that's the reason behind the recent issues, it's also a natural conclusion to make.
"I can see the way he lands and I can see in the 'pen, him trying to warm it up, bouncing on it," Arencibia said. "It's a thing people forget, a lot of people play this game and battle through things. It's not easy to play this game at 100 percent, and when you're battling stuff, it's going to be that much [tougher]."
Throughout Johnson's struggles on the mound, the Blue Jays have maintained that his spot in the rotation is secure. That message slightly changed on Friday afternoon as Gibbons admitted for the first time that the club is currently weighing its options.
One scenario is to possibly skip Johnson's next start, which would give him more time to work through his problems in bullpen sessions. Another possibility -- one not addressed by Gibbons -- is that Johnson's sore left knee could eventually warrant a stint on the disabled list.
"We could, ideally you don't want to do that, but we have to get something done," Gibbons said when asked if Johnson could have his next start skipped.
"We have to get Josh straightened out somehow, we'll see how that goes."
Johnson is 1-8 with a 6.60 ERA in 15 starts this season. He has allowed 100 hits and 28 walks while striking out 78 in his 76 1/3 innings of work.
Redmond optioned to bring up another reliever
ANAHEIM -- The Blue Jays optioned right-hander Todd Redmond to Triple-A Buffalo following Friday night's 7-5 loss to the Angels.
Redmond was roughed up for three runs over 3 2/3 innings as a Blue Jays starting pitcher failed to last at least five frames for the third time in the past five games.
The 28-year-old Redmond made six starts for the Blue Jays this season and posted a respectable 4.22 ERA but had to be sent to the Minors to open up a spot for another reliever.
Right-hander Brad Lincoln is set to be promoted from Buffalo and will rejoin the Blue Jays prior to Saturday evening's game in Anaheim. That will give Toronto a nine-man bullpen as it tries to ease a relief corps that has pitched more than any other team in baseball.
Melky's MRI reveals 'some issues' in left knee
ANAHEIM -- Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera is en route to Florida after an MRI on Friday afternoon revealed "some issues" with the meniscus in his left knee.
Cabrera will report to the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. Once there, he will undergo further tests to determine the next course of action, according to a Blue Jays spokesman.
The 28-year-old Cabrera was placed on the 15-day disabled list following Thursday night's 8-2 loss to the Angels. He previously spent more than three weeks on the disabled list in April with a similar injury, but the discomfort has not gone away.
A timetable for Cabrera's return to the lineup will not be known until the Blue Jays figure out what type of treatment is required. It wasn't immediately known whether Cabrera would require surgery or if rest and rehab would be the next step.
Cabrera is hitting .279 with three homers and 30 RBIs in 88 games this season. Rajai Davis and Emilio Bonifacio will split time in left field during Cabrera's absence from the lineup.
Right-hander Dustin McGowan also underwent an MRI on Friday afternoon, but the results of his evaluation remained unknown several hours later. McGowan was placed on the 15-day DL earlier this week with a strained oblique muscle suffered during a game in Oakland.
Recall of Wagner bolsters Blue Jays' bullpen
ANAHEIM -- The loss of left fielder Melky Cabrera has resulted in the Blue Jays going back to an eight-man bullpen.
When Cabrera was placed on the disabled list following Thursday night's 8-2 loss to the Angels, right-hander Neil Wagner was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to fill the spot on the roster.
Wagner made 20 appearances for the Blue Jays earlier this season and posted a 2-3 record and 3.26 ERA in his 19 1/3 innings. With an overworked relief corps, manager John Gibbons said it was only logical to go with an extra reliever instead of another position player to use off the bench.
"We've needed it for a while," Gibbons said of an eight-man bullpen. "We haven't had it lately, you don't want that, but sometimes you need it."
Toronto's bullpen entered play on Friday night having thrown the most innings (381) in the Major Leagues. Despite the heavy workload, the club's relievers own an impressive 3.17 ERA while striking out 355 and limiting opponents to a .228 batting average.
The timing of an extra arm couldn't have come at a better time. Right-hander Josh Johnson managed to record just seven outs during his start on Thursday night, and the result was even more stress on the bullpen. It will take at least a day or two for things to go back to normal, but Wagner will help ease the transition.