Game 63: Florida at Toronto pregame

ducks.gifI come back after a nice week off back home with family and what happens? Blue Jays manager Consistent Cito Gaston creates chaos at the Rogers Centre! For the first time this year, Gaston decided to give his lineup a good old-fashioned shake-up.

Gaston juggled the Nos. 3-6 spots of the Jays’ batting order. Vernon Wells is out of the cleanup spot and batting third. Alex Rios is out of the No. 3 spot and hitting sixth. Adam Lind is now cleaning up rather than batting fifth, which is now home to Scott Rolen.

Before altering the lineup — something Gaston has been considering for a while — he spoke with each hitter individually about his plans.

“I talked to those guys back during the last homestand,” Gaston said. “[I said] that I might change the lineup and I just want them to know that. It’s not that I lost any confidence or trust in them.”

The changes were made to, obviously, hopefully breathe some life into the bats of Rios and Wells, who have been struggling mightily.

Rios has hit .156 over his past eight games, while Wells has hit just .121 over his last 10. Overall, Rios is batting .261 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 61 games and Wells is hitting .250 with five homers (none since May 6) and 28 RBIs over 62 games.

“To continue to compete in this division, we’re going to have to have those two guys do something,” Gaston said. “Hopefully, that’ll help Vernon by getting him out of the fourth spot and moving him up a little bit and move Rios down.”

Why did Gaston opt to move Rios to sixth and not Wells?

“Vernon probably has a little more experience,” Gaston said. “He probably can handle [struggling] a little bit better — he has handled it well.”

Gaston said the tweaks were to “just maybe try to take a little pressure off of Rios and hope that he can get back to where we like to see him.”

As for Lind (.438/.460/.875 in his last 12 games) batting cleanup, Gaston said he didn’t want the young left-handed hitter to alter his approach.

“The more you see this kid all the time, he’s just getting better,” Gaston said. “I don’t think he’s going to look at it one way or the other. I certainly will speak to him and tell him to be himself.”

Gaston said he considered moving Lyle Overbay (.396/.492/.698 in his last 17 games with an AL Player of the Week honor along the way) higher in the order, but he didn’t want to have Lind and Overbay’s lefty bats back-to-back in the order.

So, for the time being, this will likely be Gaston’s primarly lineup against right-handers.

Today’s lineups:


Marlins.gifFLORIDA MARLINS (29-33)
Fourth place NL East, 8.0 GB

1. Chris Coghlan, LF
2. Ross Gload, 1B
3. Hanley Ramirez, SS
4. Jorge Cantu, DH
5. Jeremy Hermida, RF
6. Dan Uggla, 2B
7. John Baker, C
8. Cody Ross, CF
9. Emilio Bonifacio, 3B

Starter: RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-6)

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (34-28)
Third place AL East, 3.0 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Vernon Wells, CF
4. Adam Lind, DH
5. Scott Rolen, 3B
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Joe Inglett, LF

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (10-1)

Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @MLBastian

~JB

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