Ricciardi says offense will stay as is

Ricciardi says offense will stay as is

CLEVELAND -- Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has shown that he's not afraid of shaking up his roster. He's already made a handful of transactions this season in an attempt to improve his struggling offense.

In Spring Training, Ricciardi decided to sign left fielder Shannon Stewart, parting ways with outfielder Reed Johnson in the process. On April 20, Toronto's GM released veteran slugger Frank Thomas, who was off to a sluggish start and was closing in on a $10 million vesting option for 2009.

On Friday, Ricciardi continued to tweak the Jays' laboring lineup by signing free-agent outfielder Brad Wilkerson and acquiring outfielder Kevin Mench from the Rangers in exchange for cash. The moves have made it understandable to wonder what could be coming next, if Toronto's offensive woes persist.

"I think we're done. This is our team," Ricciardi said. "These are the guys we've made our bed with and I don't really see us being able to do a lot at this point. We've tried to do some little things in getting Mench and Wilkerson in here to try to shake up the lineup a little bit."

Ricciardi met up with the Blue Jays in Cleveland on Monday, when Toronto split a doubleheader with the Indians. Following the series at Progressive Field, Ricciardi will remain with the club on its trek to Minnesota, where the Jays open a three-game on Tuesday night.

On Monday, Toronto plated three runs in the 10th inning of the doubleheader's second game to avoid being swept in the four-game series. Those runs also snapped a dubious run of 31 scoreless innings for the Jays, who came within two frames of matching the team record of 33 straight innings without a run -- set in 1981.

The drought in Cleveland, where Toronto was outscored 21-4 in the four tilts, only served as further evidence of the Jays' offensive issues. Ricciardi is clinging firmly to the belief that his team will be able to turn things around, considering there are still 122 games left on the regular-season schedule.

That's one reason why Ricciardi doesn't want to push the panic button.

"These are our guys," Ricciardi said. "These are the guys we chose to go to war with and we have to get these guys going. I don't see us making wholesale changes."

That being the case, Blue Jays fans should get used to the players who are currently in place. That includes Toronto's pitching staff, which has helped overcome the club's offensive struggles with a pile of stellar performances, making for one of the game's elite staffs.

In Tuesday's game against the Twins, the Jays will turn to 23-year-old right-hander Jesse Litsch. On Thursday, Litsch picked up a no-decision after giving up three runs on five hits over seven innings for the Jays.

Litsch also issued no walks in the start, giving him a streak of 21 1/3 straight innings without a free pass. That's the longest such streak for a Toronto pitcher since Jimmy Key lasted 35 2/3 consecutive innings without walking a batter in 1990.

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Jesse Litsch (4-1, 4.24 ERA)
Litsch is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in two career games against the Twins.

MIN: RHP Kevin Slowey (0-2, 6.48 ERA)
Slowey is 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA in one career outing against the Jays.

Bird seed
Jays right-hander Jeremy Accardo, who is on the 15-day disabled list, underwent an MRI exam that revealed a mild strain in his right forearm. Ricciardi indicated that Accardo would not resume throwing for at least two weeks. ... According to Ricciardi, Jays right-hander Brian Wolfe (right triceps strain) has been throwing lightly and will start rehabbing in Florida in about a week. Ricciardi wasn't sure when Wolfe would begin pitching off a mound again. ... Monday night's win over the Indians snapped an eight-game losing streak in Cleveland for the Jays. ... Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay lined into an unassisted triple play in the fifth inning on Monday, marking the first unassisted triple play against Toronto in team history. ... Over his last four starts, Jays right-hander Shaun Marcum has posted a 1.19 ERA, allowing just four earned runs over 30 1/3 innings.

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Up next
• Wednesday: Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 3-5, 3.29) at Twins (Boof Bonser, 2-4, 5.09), 8:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Blue Jays (Dustin McGowan, 2-3, 4.47) at Twins (Glen Perkins, 0-1, 4.50), 1:10 p.m. ET
• Friday: Blue Jays (TBD) at Phillies (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET

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