Watchful eye putting Overbay on base

Watchful eye putting Overbay on base

TORONTO -- Patience is a virtue Lyle Overbay has been exercising all season long. In addition to drawing more walks than any other Jays hitter this year, the first baseman is also on pace to eclipse his career high for the category.

Entering Friday, Overbay had drawn 65 walks this season, which ranked him eighth in the American League. That total easily led the Blue Jays, with Marco Scutaro (44) placing a distant second.

More intriguing, though, is the fact that Overbay is currently on track to surpass the career-high 81 walks he garnered for Milwaukee in 2004.

According to the left-handed hitter, the reason for his high totals this year has been extremely simple.

"I know I've walked a lot -- more than I normally do," Overbay said. "I think I'm just more patient in making sure that I'm not going out of the strike zone and going out of my game plan. If I don't get my pitch, then I'm not going to swing."

"Sometimes, my aggressiveness will come out and I'll go and swing at [bad pitches] and get myself out," he continued. "But for the most part, I don't feel like I've done that [this year]. I'll take my walks and set it up for the next guy."

Last year, Overbay's amassed his lowest walk total (47) since his rookie year in 2003. This was due to the fact that he was limited to just 122 games because of a fractured right hand. Even though he returned from the injury during the season, he admits that it bothered him throughout the year.

This year, though, he has felt more comfortable in the batter's box.

"[The hand] is not 100 percent, but it's still something that I don't think about much," he said. "I know I can get to pitches that I didn't last year, so that is something that makes you relax."

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Roy Halladay (13-8, 2.77 ERA)
Halladay was in fine form Monday, limiting Oakland to one run on four hits over eight strong innings. The Blue Jays ace added eight strikeouts, upping his season total to 149, and he issued just one walk in the 113-pitch effort. Over his past seven starts, Halladay has turned in 48 shutout innings among the 56 frames he's logged, posting a 2.00 ERA during that span. He is 5-1 with a 3.97 ERA in 11 career games against Cleveland.

CLE: RHP Paul Byrd (6-10, 4.72 ERA)
Byrd continued his stellar performance as of late, allowing one earned run on six hits in seven innings Saturday in Minnesota for his third straight victory. His ERA is 0.90 in his past three starts because he's been keeping the ball in the park and men off base, something he struggled with earlier this year. Rumored to be traded before the July 31 deadline, Byrd tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings July 28 against Detroit, and one earned run in his start before that. Byrd has not pitched against Toronto this year, but is 3-3 lifetime vs. the Jays. He allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings in his lone start against Toronto ast season.

Bird seed
Vernon Wells (strained left hamstring) went 0-for-4 in the first appearance of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse on Friday. ... Adam Lind now has a six-game hitting streak, during which he has batted .421 (8-for-19). ... In the second inning of Friday's game, Overbay snapped an 0-for-15 hitless streak with a single. ... On Friday, catcher Rod Barajas extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has collected a hit in 13 of his past 14 games. ... Scott Rolen has been hit by a pitch 10 times this year to lead the team. That number is tied for third in the AL. ... Reliever Jeremy Accardo (right forearm) continued his rehab assignment with the rookie level Gulf Coast Blue Jays on Thursday, tossing one scoreless inning.

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Up next
• Sunday: Indians (Cliff Lee, 15-2, 2.58) at Blue Jays (Scott Richmond, 0-1, 4.91), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday: Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum, 6-5, 3.44) at Tigers (Justin Verlander, 8-12, 4.56), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett, 14-9, 4.62) at Tigers (Zach Miner, 6-4, 3.57), 7:05 p.m. ET

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