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Blue Jays make slew of roster moves

Blue Jays make slew of roster moves

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made a flurry of roster moves prior to Saturday's game against the Orioles. Of the six transactions, the most notable was Toronto deciding to activate Vernon Wells from the disabled list less than a month after the center fielder suffered a broken left wrist on a diving catch in Cleveland.

Along with Wells, also rejoining the Jays were shortstop John McDonald, who was on the 15-day DL with a sprained right ankle, and reliever Brian Wolfe, who was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse.

To make room on the roster, Toronto placed second baseman Aaron Hill on the 15-day DL (retroactive to May 30) with a mild concussion, optioned infielder Joe Inglett to Syracuse and designated reliever Armando Benitez for assignment.

While Wells was not in the starting lineup -- he arrived at Rogers Centre just prior to the afternoon tilt -- he entered the game in the second inning, replacing Shannon Stewart, who suffered an injury to his right ankle on a play near first base in the first inning.

Bringing Wells back so soon was somewhat of a surprise, considering the center fielder suffered his injury on May 9 and only played in two games during his rehab assignment.

When Wells first broke his wrist, the Jays indicated it could take anywhere between four to six weeks for the slugger to make his way back to Toronto. Then, in recent days, after noticing Wells was improving steadily, the team said he should be able to return at some point next week.

"I wouldn't say stunned," said Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, when asked his thoughts on the quick return of Wells. "I'm happy. Maybe, for once, we caught a break. Instead of a guy being out eight weeks, he's out four."

Ricciardi also added that he was not concerned about rushing Wells, as the team doctors have indicated the center fielder is ready to resume Major League action.

Before the injury, Wells was hitting .281 with five doubles and five home runs. Despite missing 26 games, Wells' 24 RBIs still were tied for the team lead entering Saturday's game.

Unlike Wells, Hill was not so lucky with his injury problems. The second baseman has not played in a game since suffering a concussion on May 29 when he collided with shortstop David Eckstein. While Hill did take batting practice and participate in fielding drills on Saturday, Ricciardi said the team did not want to rush the second baseman back from an injury such as a concussion.

"He's moving around, but he still needs some time," Ricciardi said. "We can't play him until he's got all of the symptoms [of the concussion] gone. He's obviously not going to play in the next few days, so [placing him on the DL] gives us a chance to get another guy here."

Ricciardi also said Hill met with team doctors on Friday.

"They gave him a nice clean slate," the GM said. "From what I understand with [concussions], is that you have got to let them run their course. Some guys come back in a couple of days; some guys take a little longer."

For now, Hill will remain with the Jays, who are hoping to have their second baseman back by June 13, the day he is scheduled to come off the disabled list.

"I keep telling everybody that it's tough for me because I've had to be honest with these guys," Hill said on Saturday. "Like with a leg or an arm or [any other injury], I can say I'm fine and go out and fight through it. But from what I hear -- and I know it's the right thing to do -- you have got to be careful with this."

Hill described his symptoms as a constant "annoying" headache. He also said what bothered him even more was that he could not help his team.

"It kills me to be around these guys who are doing their daily business and I have to sit and watch," Hill said.

David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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