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Blue Jays Halladay set to Return Monday

Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay, out since June 12 with a mild groin strain, declared himself ready to start Monday against Tampa Bay after throwing a bullpen session Friday.

Friday's 54-pitch session was Halladay's second this week. He also threw in the bullpen Tuesday.

Halladay (10-1) is tied with Minnesota's Kevin Slowey for the major league lead in wins and has won seven straight decisions. His ERA of 2.53 is third lowest in the AL.

Halladay left a June 12 outing against Florida two pitches into the fourth inning due to a sore groin, the only time in 14 starts this season he has not gone at least seven. He felt discomfort after throwing again in Philadelphia last Wednesday and was placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 13.

This should be a huge lift for the Blue Jays. Halladay is virtually without question the best pitcher in the American League. Not a bad boost for the AL all-star team either, as I'm sure Halladay will be the teams starter.

The Blue Jays are 41-34 and are five games behind the AL East leading Red Sox. They finish up a three game set this weekend with the Phillies before welcoming in the Rays on Monday.