It's gotta be the shoes
TORONTO — Asked Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston about that “hit batter” episode from Sunday night’s game. Turns out that the explanation from homeplate ump Hunter Wendelstedt left Gaston scratching his head.
“A scuff mark on his shoe. I had never heard that one before,” said Gaston, still shaking his head in disbelief.
Replays of the fifth-inning pitch in question from Jays lefty David Purcey clearly showed the ball bounce in the dirt before “hitting” Rangers third baseman Travis Metcalf. The play proved large considering that, two batters later, Gerald Laird took Purcey deep to put Texas ahead for good.
Gaston said initially it was ruled that Metcalf wasn’t hit by the pitch, but when the third baseman returned to home plate, he showed the scuff mark on his shoe — supposedly created by the ball. That was enough for Wendelstedt, who then ruled that the batter was hit by the pitch.
On to today’s game…
Mighty Joe Inglett was a late scratch due to a sore left knee. Scott Rolen was out of the lineup again — a planned day off to rest his fatigued left shoulder. Gaston said he’d like to get to the point where he can play Rolen in 3-4 straight games with a day off after. With Inglett out and Scutaro at third, Eckstein started at second base again.
“With what’s going on with Rolen, maybe he’ll get some more playing time there,” Gaston said of Eckstein.
Prior to the game, center fielder Vernon Wells (injured left hamstring) took batting practice, ran the bases and even worked on some slides into second. Gaston said he hopes Wells can be ready to be activated — perhaps for DH duty at first — in time for Toronto’s coming road swing through Detroit and Boston.
Oh, and Frank Thomas is back in Toronto for the first time since being cut by the Jays.
OAKLAND (53-57) at TORONTO (55-56)
at 6:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre
Jack Hannahan, 3B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Jack Cust, LF
Frank Thomas, DH
Carlos Gonzalex, CF
Emil Brown, RF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Bobby Crosby, SS
Daric Barton, 1B
PITCHING: RHP Sean Gallagher (1-0, 3.22)
Marco Scutaro, 3B
David Eckstein, 2B
Alex Rios, CF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Rod Barajas, C
Adam Lind, LF
Matt Stairs, DH
Brad Wilkerson, RF
John McDonald, SS
PITCHING: RHP Roy Halladay (12-8, 2.85)
QUOTABLE: “This is what I dreamed of as a child — plain and simple. You grow up wanting to be a Major League Baseball player. The Olympics is, obviously, the top athletes in the world — an amazing venue. It’s just kind of bad timing.” –Jays starter Scott Richmond, on the “controversy” of being promoted to Toronto just before he was due to fly to Beijing with Team Canada