ARLINGTON - Scott Rolen isn't the only Blue Jay battling a left shoulder ailment. Brad Wilkerson's shoulder is causing him problems as well, and on Friday, it set in motion a chain reaction that had David Eckstein starting at a position he hasn't played since 2001 -- second base. With Wilkerson available to pinch-hit at the most on Friday, manager Cito Gaston placed Joe Inglett, who's played most of his games at second base, in right field. Then Gaston elected to keep Marco Scutaro at shortstop and have Eckstein man second base.
"He's been working out over there," Gaston said of Eckstein. "That's where he started out." Gaston has a point. Eckstein rose through the Red Sox and Angels' systems as a second baseman before converting to shortstop. Gaston couldn't say for sure how long Wilkerson's shoulder has been acting up, but he thought the problem started during Toronto's series with Baltimore in July, when Wilkerson laid out to make a catch. Since that Baltimore series, Wilkerson has gone 2-for-12 in five games. Although the Blue Jays aren't slated to face any left-handed starters from the Rangers this weekend, Gaston could call upon right-handed-hitting Kevin Mench to give the offense a jolt. If Mench does take the field at some point, it will be his first action at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since he played for the Rangers in 2006 before being traded to the Brewers. "We'll see how we hit," Gaston said. "[The Rangers] have the opposite problem we do. They're hitting has been good, but their pitching has been so-so. With us, our pitching has been good, but our hitting has been so-so."
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.