Notes: Another date set for Halladay

Notes: Another date set for Halladay

TORONTO -- Save the date, take three. The Blue Jays have circled another tentative target date for Roy Halladay in his return from a broken tibia. If all goes well over the next few days, Toronto's ace will return next Monday in Anaheim to start the opener of a three-game series against the Angels.

"That's what we're shooting for," said John Gibbons, Toronto's manager. "He threw a side [session Sunday] and played some catch today. I think Wednesday, they want a simulated game."

The simulated game is just half of the action planned for the right-hander. Brad Arnsberg, Toronto's pitching coach, said he wants to run Halladay through a bunch of fielding drills after the mound work is done. The Jays have watched him move laterally, but they've yet to see him take a two-step burst when he's already fatigued.

"We're hoping to go five innings, and 15-pitch innings to get him up to 75 pitches," said Arnsberg. "And then we're going to try to do some PFP -- pitcher's fielding practice -- so that we can watch his range of motion, watch his lateral, watch his jog. They did some of that with him today, without the ball.

"The only thing that bothered him a little bit is when they had him skip, just to put all the weight on it. That didn't go as well as he was hoping, but everything else was right up to par. ... As he said, 'When am I ever going to skip on the baseball field?' "

Halladay declined comment, saying that he'd prefer to wait until his return is a sure thing. He'd already commented on each of the previous return dates and didn't want to address each development as it happened. Arnsberg has seen Halladay throw a few simulated games already, but he still needs to see him move a bit better before he can clear him for game duty.

"The real test will be when we get him on the mound -- and then after his mound exposure, we'll let him field some ground balls," said Arnsberg. "We'll let him field bunts down both lines and we'll let him cover first base. ... He's got to be able to get around at least well enough to be able to do those things that are required out of every Major League pitcher."

In and out: With the Blue Jays facing their third left-handed pitcher in as many days, Gibbons shuffled his roster on Monday. Toronto shortstop Russ Adams was gone from the lineup, yielding to Aaron Hill. Also, Eric Hinske and Corey Koskie made it back to the field after two games off.

Adams, on a four-game hit streak, took a break one day after getting plunked in the elbow. The left-handed hitter said the injury wasn't a concern and wasn't the reason he was headed to the bench.

"It hit me good. I was a little worried that it was going to be sore," Adams said. "But there really wasn't any real damage to it. It's going to be fine."

Gibbons confirmed that, saying he had the rotation planned before the stretch started. He also said he was pleased with Adams in the leadoff slot and would likely keep him there for the rest of the year. The numbers clearly explain why: In his last 29 games in the top spot, Adams is batting .322 (39-for-121) with 17 walks and 25 runs scored.

"We even talked about it last winter, about him possibly being the leadoff guy to start the season," said Gibbons. "Then we kind of looked at some things and said, 'You know what? Why don't we start the season down in the order? See how it goes.'

"The more we saw him out there, we figured, 'It's time to put him in there.' And we may have held on to him a little bit long, not playing against lefties early. ... Russ? He just keeps getting better and better."

New team, new arm: Midway through his press briefing, Gibbons was asked about ex-Jay Sean Douglass, who will start against Toronto on Tuesday. The manager said he wasn't surprised to see Douglass turn his career around with the Tigers.

"He had great stuff. He went out there a few times and pitched very good for us," Gibbons said. "He may have had a tender elbow at times. To be honest with you, it doesn't surprise me. We knew he could pitch."

Douglass is 4-1 with a 3.22 ERA for Detroit. By contrast, he was 0-2 with a 6.28 mark for the Jays last season. Gibbons said something as simple as a change of scenery could be behind the transformation.

"That happens a lot in baseball," he said before referencing another ex-Jay. "Look at Cliff Politte."

Quotable: "Misprint, huh?" -- Ken Huckaby, Toronto's backup catcher, pointing out his presence in the lineup

Coming up: The Blue Jays and Tigers will meet again on Tuesday, with Toronto's Dustin McGowan getting matched up against Douglass.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.