TORONTO — Cito Gaston has received plenty of congratulatory phone calls since assuming the manager’s chair for the Jays on Friday. On Wednesday, he ran through a list of some of his callers: George Bell, Leo Mazzone, Cecil Fielder, Mel Queen and, wouldn’t you know it, Frank Thomas.
“Every day I get here I say I’m going to call some of them back, but I’ve just been so busy,” Gaston said.
When he’s not weeding through his voicemail, Gaston is also having visitors drop by the stadium. One Joe Carter ducked his head into the manager’s office after the game last night and Gaston’s face lit up. Before Tuesday’s game, Gaston also spent a couple hours with former Jays prez Paul Beeston.
Gaston also noted that Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill, who is out indefinitely with a concussion and has been instructed to stay away from the team for two weeks (as to avoid wanting to take part in baseball activities), dropped by the ballpark to say hi to his new skipper.
“Aaron came by to see me today,” Gaston said. “He’s anxious to get back in the lineup. I told him that we’d love to have him back in the lineup, but we want him back healthy. It’s not about today, it’s about the rest of his life and his future. They’re starting to take those things a little more seriously than they used to and I think they should.”
Hill was clocked in the side of the face on May 29 by a David Eckstein elbow and has been dealing with post-concussion symptoms ever since. As Gaston noted in that last quote, concussions weren’t treated with nearly as much care as they are nowadays.
“I got one right here,” said Gaston, pointing to his left cheek — nearly the same spot Hill was drilled. “And I was in the lineup the next day. I guess they hit me in the right place. Back then, it was, ‘How do you feel?’ ‘I feel good.’ ‘Where are you?’ ‘I don’t know, but I can play.'”
Gaston was then asked if he remembered who hit him.
“Oh, no, it was too long ago,” he said with a laugh. “See? And I said it didn’t affect me, right?”
CINCINNATI (35-42) at TORONTO (37-41)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre
Jay Bruce, RF
Adam Dunn, LF
Brandon Phillips, 2B
Ken Griffey Jr., DH
Joey Votto, 1B
Jeff Keppinger, SS
Corey Patterson, CF
Javier Valentin, 3B
David Ross, C
PITCHING: RHP Aaron Harang (3-10, 4.33)
Marco Scutaro, SS
Joe Inglett, 2B
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Matt Stairs, DH
Scott Rolen, 3B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Gregg Zaun, C
Adam Lind, LF
PITCHING: RHP Roy Halladay (8-6, 2.90)
QUOTABLE: “Last night he came in and he sat down and I said, ‘Worn out, huh?’ He said, ‘A little bit.’ But I said, ‘Keep it up.’ We want him to be worn out. It was a good night for him last night — a good night for all of us.” — Gaston, on third-base coach Nick Leyva and Toronto’s 14-run, 22-hit win on Tuesday