Blue Jays' Jordan Romano earns 29th save in return from IL

The Toronto Blue Jays received a boost in their quest to maintain playoff positioning Tuesday, activating closer Jordan Romano from the 15-day injured list while sending All-Star shortstop Bo Bichette on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Buffalo.

Romano, 30, suffered a back injury during the All-Star Game in Seattle. He pitched in five games after that but had to depart his July 28 appearance against the Los Angeles Angels, missing 16 games.

Romano struck out a pair in the ninth Tuesday night to close out Toronto's 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies for his 90th career save.

The right-hander has 29 saves in 32 chances this season, with a 2.72 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 43 innings. His return means fellow relievers Jordan Hicks and Erik Swanson can fill depth roles in the late innings as setup men for Romano.

In a corresponding move, Toronto sent right-hander Nate Pearson to Triple-A Buffalo. Pearson, 26, has a 5.18 ERA in 33 games (40 innings pitched) this season.

Bichette was scheduled to begin his rehab assignment on Tuesday, but the Bisons' game against Rochester was rained out. The teams play again Wednesday.

Bichette, 25, was placed on the injured list Aug. 2 with patellar tendinitis in his right knee. At the time of the IL move, Bichette was leading the American League with a .321 batting average.

An All-Star for the second time this season, Bichette also had 17 home runs and 59 RBIs at the time he was sidelined. His 144 hits still lead the AL.

In five seasons, Bichette is a career .302 hitter with 86 home runs and 298 RBIs in 499 games with the Blue Jays. He finished 11th in AL MVP voting last season and 12th in 2021.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.