MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay will return to the rotation next week and come off the disabled list earlier than originally expected.
Manager John Gibbons said before Saturday's game at Minnesota that Halladay will start at home on Thursday against the Chicago White Sox, one day less than three weeks since he had his appendix removed. The procedure was initially supposed to keep him off the mound for at least one month.
But Halladay, who is 4-2 with a 4.37 ERA in eight appearances this season, responded well to the appendectomy and felt good after throwing 65 pitches in a simulated game on Friday. He'll have five days of rest before making his first start since May 10.
``He's one of the best pitchers in the game. We want to run him out there,'' Gibbons said.
The next question for the Blue Jays is whose spot will be given up for Halladay, but Gibbons was coy on the subject.
``When we decide to make a change, we'll let you know,'' he said.
Rookie Jesse Litsch, who didn't finish the fifth inning in Friday's 4-3 loss to the Twins, is scheduled to make his next start on Wednesday against the New York Yankees. Tomo Ohka, Saturday's starter, could be the odd man out.

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