Notes: Taubenheim gets staph infection

Notes: Taubenheim gets staph infection

TORONTO -- It looked like another inside joke within Toronto's clubhouse. After Friday's game, the white board hanging on a wall in the back corner of the room read, "Word of the Day: Shower Shoes." It turns out that whoever wrote the message was only half kidding.

On Saturday, the Blue Jays announced that pitcher Ty Taubenheim was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a staph infection in his left foot -- the same type of injury that has sidelined right fielder Alex Rios for nearly three weeks. Rios spent more than a week in a hospital due to an infection in his left leg, but Taubenheim was expected to be released on Saturday because the injury was caught in its early stages.

"[Taubenheim] noticed a little infection in his little toe. Next thing you know it got worse." Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "It blew up into a staph infection, just like what Alex had."

Taubenheim and Rios have lockers on the opposite ends of Toronto's clubhouse, but that didn't stop the club from having health inspectors sweep the room for any traces of the bacteria. The clubhouse was disinfected as a precaution against possibly spreading the infection, but the inspectors didn't find the source of the problem within the room.

"They made sure they cleaned the clubhouse pretty good," Gibbons said.

Gibbons said that Taubenheim noticed the infection during the All-Star break, when the right-hander went home to Syracuse to collect some of his belongings. He was placed on the DL, retroactive to July 10, but the Jays aren't sure when he'll be able to rejoin the club.

Taubenheim, 23, is 1-5 with a 4.89 ERA for Toronto this year. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 4.99 ERA in seven starts and is 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA out of the bullpen.

Defensive switch: Gibbons started Aaron Hill at second base and John McDonald at shortstop on Saturday -- a move that Toronto's manager said wasn't a temporary one. The Jays are going to use that double-play combination in order to strengthen their defense up the middle and have considered the change for the last couple of weeks.

"We made a little change," Gibbons said. "I'm moving Hill back to second base. I think that's his spot. We're going to give Johnny Mac a chance to play shortstop -- see what he can do. You're not going to win at this level, in this sport -- or any sport -- if you're not strong defensively. That's no secret."

Russ Adams, who has had his share of defensive issues at short and second this season, will become the backup at both spots for Toronto. The Blue Jays entered Saturday ranked 11th in the American League in fielding percentage and errors. The club feels that McDonald and Hill can help improve those numbers -- something Toronto needs to have happen if it wants to make a serious run at the division title.

"We've all sat around and talked about it," said Brian Butterfield, Toronto's third-base coach and infield instructor. "This isn't a knee-jerk thing. It's something that, we're down to 73 games, and all Gibby's trying to do is get the lineup that gives us the best chance to win on a nightly basis because we're in a pennant race."

Chulk returns: With Taubenheim on the DL, Toronto recalled right-hander Vinnie Chulk from Triple-A Syracuse to fill a spot in the bullpen. Chulk, who has been optioned twice to Triple-A this season, is 1-0 with a 5.95 ERA in 17 games for the Blue Jays this year. With Syracuse, the right-hander went 3-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 19 appearances.

Shea is away: Toronto designated hitter Shea Hillenbrand will be away from the team for at least a couple of games. According to Gibbons, Hillenbrand flew home to Arizona on Saturday to be with his wife because the couple is adopting a child. Gibbons wasn't sure exactly when Hillenbrand would rejoin the team.

Did you know? Over the last two seasons, Toronto ace Roy Halladay is 24-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 37 starts prior to the All-Star break. For his career, Halladay is 62-26 (.705 winning percentage) before the break. He joins Pedro Martinez (120-42, .741) as the only active pitchers with winning percentages of .700 or higher before the All-Star break.

Quotable: "It's not a reflection on anybody. It's not a reflection on Russ at all. He's not disappointed and we're not disappointed in anything right now. We still love Russell Adams." -- Butterfield, on moving Adams to the bench

Coming up: Toronto right-hander A.J. Burnett (1-3, 4.58) will take on Seattle righty Felix Hernandez (8-8, 4.95) when the Blue Jays host the Mariners in the finale of a three-game set at 1:07 p.m. ET on Sunday at Rogers Centre.

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