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Notes: Wells nursing sore shoulder

Notes: Wells nursing sore shoulder

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OAKLAND -- Just because Vernon Wells chose not to discuss the matter, it doesn't mean his shoulder isn't bothering him. In fact, the soreness has been an issue since last year, and the Blue Jays plan on having his arm examined when this season is over.

"No comment," said Wells, when asked about the injury on Wednesday. "There's no excuses."

Wells may not want to use the ailment as any kind of explanation for his subpar performance this season, but there's a good chance it has played a role. Toronto hitting coach Mickey Brantley brought up the injury on Tuesday, and Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi confirmed that Wells' shoulder has indeed been an ongoing issue.

"It's not so much an injury -- there's just a little tightness in there," Ricciardi said. "He's been playing, and I don't think he would use it as an excuse. He's got a little soreness in his shoulder, but nothing that's stopped him from playing."

Toronto has $126 million invested in its center fielder for the next seven seasons, and Ricciardi said Wells will undergo an MRI this offseason to rule out surgery. Wells, 28, has appeared in 129 of the Jays' 132 games this season, but he's struggled with a persistent slump at the plate for much of the year.

Entering Wednesday, Wells was batting .258 with 15 home runs and 74 RBIs. That's a considerable drop-off from last season, when he posted a .304 average with 32 homers and a team-high 106 RBIs.

Brantley, however, was quick to point out Wells' injury. Last year, Wells missed games on May 31 and June 2 with a left shoulder issue.

"What a lot of people don't know is Vernon has been hurt also this year," Brantley said. "His shoulder's been hurt for quite a while, but there's no excuses. He's been in and out of the training room and he goes and plays through it. He's a tough kid."

Nice find: In January 2006, the Blue Jays were trying to find a taker for third baseman Corey Koskie. When the Brewers were willing to take on a chunk of Koskie's remaining salary, Toronto wasn't about to be picky about who was traded in return.

"When someone's taking that kind of money," Ricciardi said, "you're not going to get the cream of the crop. So we tried to make the best of a decision we had to make."

When the deal was completed, the Jays received Minor League pitcher Brian Wolfe from the Brewers, while Milwaukee picked up Koskie and agreed to pay $4.25 million of the $11.5 million the third baseman was owed through 2008. In hindsight, the trade is looking good for the Jays.

Sal Butera, a special assistant to the general manager, scouted and recommended the right-handed Wolfe, who spent time at three Minor League levels in 2005. Now, Wolfe has become a reliable piece within Toronto's bullpen, posting a 1.69 ERA in 27 appearances for the Jays.

"There was a list of players that we were looking at, and Sal really liked this guy," Ricciardi said. "We knew it was a guy with a good arm, and we thought we'd take a chance on him. ... What he's done is he's taken an opportunity and run with it. He's definitely put himself in the mix."

Road weary: Tuesday's win over Oakland upped Toronto's record to 4-2 on its current seven-game road trip, securing a winning trip for the first time since April 2-8. The consecutive wins over the A's represented the first back-to-back road victories since June 9-10 for the Jays, who haven't won three in a row away from Toronto since April 23-26. The Jays are 28-38 on the road this year, and haven't swept a series on the road since taking three from Atlanta on June 20-22, 2006.

Streak stopped: The two runs that Toronto closer Jeremy Accardo surrendered in the ninth inning on Tuesday night snapped an 11-inning scoreless streak for the right-hander. The runs the A's plated marked the first time Accardo was scored upon since July 30 -- a span of 11 games. It also marked the first time Accardo allowed more than one run since he yielded two to Colorado on June 22.

Injury updates: Blue Jays left-hander Gustavo Chacin, who has been on the disabled list since late April, was scheduled to undergo exploratory surgery on his left shoulder on Wednesday. After the operation, the Jays will have a better indication of how much time Chacin will miss. ... Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun, who sat out Tuesday's game with a sore right knee, was still sore on Wednesday. Even so, Zaun started behind the plate and batted eighth for the Jays.

Minor matters: On Tuesday, Class A Dunedin infielder Josh Kreuzer was named the 2007 Most Valuable Player for the Florida State League. This season, Kreuzer hit .307 with 20 homers and 71 RBIs in 401 at-bats. ... Dunedin outfielder Eric Nielsen was named the FSL's Player of the Week after batting .484 with one homer, eight RBIs and 10 runs scored.

Did you know? Entering Wednesday, Wolfe had limited right-handed batters to a .108 (7-for-65) average. The Jays reliever has allowed just two earned runs over his past 17 games, posting a 0.78 ERA over that span.

Coming up: After an off-day on Thursday, Toronto right-hander Shaun Marcum (11-5, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to start when the Blue Jays face the Mariners at 7:07 p.m. ET on Friday at Rogers Centre. Seattle will counter with left-hander Jarrod Washburn (9-11, 4.13 ERA).

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

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