ST. PETERSBURG — Strolled into the clubhouse today at the Trop and spied Scott Rolen in a closed-door meeting with manager Cito Gaston. That big glass window was sure helpful. Rolen was discussing his recovering left shoulder with the manager and filling Cito in on the new swing he’s using.
While on the disabled list, Rolen retreated here to Florida and worked with his long-time trainer on figuring out a way to work through his fatigued shoulder. The fact that the injury cropped up again this year had Rolen doubting his future in the game — seriously. But, after letting down his guard and agreeing to retool the swing he’s used for 15 years, Rolen is confident he can continue.
Gaston’s going to give him every opportunity, too. Rolen won’t be in the lineup tonight and probably not tomorrow, but Gaston said he’ll be the regular third baseman with no built in days off down the stretch. That is, unless Rolen says he needs some time off, which is doubtful, knowing him.
Rolen has lowered his hands some and shortened his load and he says it helps take some stress off his left shoulder. He’s been hitting a lot recent and he’s confident he can catch up to pitches again — an issue before he was DL’d. Here’s hoping, considering he’s under contract for the next two seasons.
Now, the big question seems to be why bring in Jose Bautista if Rolen is already back? Well, as insurance, first of all. But, Gaston said Bautista will still be used, and it sounds like he’ll be used similarly to Kevin Mench. Bautista will mainly be used against left-handers and he could see some time at third, DH, second, the outfield or even first base.
On another note, reliever Jeremy Accardo is done for the year. And he’s scheduled to go visit…uh oh…Dr. James Andrews. Now, Shaun Marcum saw Dr. Andrews and came back without a need for surgery, so that development doesn’t always mean impending doom for a pitcher. The Jays want Accardo to have his ailing right forearm examined again. Earlier this year, Accardo tried to work through the injury to avoid Tommy John surgery. So, to be continued…
TORONTO (66-62) at TAMPE BAY (79-50)
at 7:05 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field
Joe Inglett, 2B
Marco Scutaro, 3B
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Adam Lind, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Matt Stairs, DH
Rod Barajas, C
John McDonald, SS
PITCHING: RHP Roy Halladay (15-9, 2.68)
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
B.J. Upton, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Cliff Floyd, DH
Willy Aybar, 3B
Eric Hinske, LF
Dioner Navarro, C
Gabe Gross, RF
Jason Bartlett, SS
PITCHING: RHP James Shields (11-7, 3.68)