Game 81: Toronto at New York pregame
One thing that Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston has always done is be upfront and honest with his players, especially when it comes to lineup decisions. Gaston will always talk to his players first and then make a move, and this is something they respect.
I bring this up because Cito had a chat with center fielder Vernon Wells on Wednesday to tell him that the lineup was going to see some changes. The struggling Wells was going to have a day off and then he was going to be pushed down to the lower portion of the lineup.
“He just said some changes are going to be made,” Wells said on Wednesday. “He’s always been straight-up and forward with me. That’s something that he’s been since Day 1. He’s called us in his office and told us how he’s felt about different things. It’s been an open relationship.”
Here at the new Yankee Stadium today, Wells was in the sixth spot for the opener of a four-game all-afternoon set against the Bronx Bombers. Until Wells starts to come around, this is likely where he’ll remain — the same for Alex Rios in the seven hole. Eventually, Wells and Rios could return to the heart of the order. That’s up to them.
“Players do write up the lineup,” Gaston said. “If he starts to swing the bat well, I’ll get him back up that way. You always like to have your speed up there at the top if you can. Hopefully, this will take a little of the pressure off of him and he can just be a little bit more loose and go out and start swinging the bat like he’s capable of doing.”
Closer Scott Downs threw in the bullpen prior to today’s game, testing that pesky sprained big toe on his left foot. Downs said recently that he would love to be activated from the DL this weekend — he’s now eligible. Said Gaston: “I doubt if it’ll be here, but who knows? … We’d love to get him back as soon as we can.” A lot will depend on how Downs feels on Saturday.
Prior to the game, the Blue Jays also announced that Russ Adams had been designated for assignment and David Dellucci’s contract had been purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas. Dellucci will play left field and some DH and Cito is hoping he can add some pop from the left side to Toronto’s lineup. Check bluejays.com later for more on Dellucci.
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Scott Rolen, 3B
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. Vernon Wells, CF
7. Alex Rios, RF
8. David Dellucci, LF
9. Raul Chavez, C
Starter: LHP Brian Tallet (5-5, 4.47)
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Hideki Matsui, DH
8. Francisco Cervelli, C
9. Brett Gardner, CF
Starter: RHP A.J. Burnett (6-4, 3.93)
Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @MLBastian
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