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Gaston glad Rolen's healthy, hitting

Gaston glad Rolen's healthy, hitting

TORONTO -- Third baseman Scott Rolen may not have a home run since May 5, but that doesn't bother Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston. With Rolen's defense and his ability to hit for average, Gaston is pleased with Rolen's contribution to the team, even if the long balls aren't there.

"Scott has done a great job for us," Gaston said. "He's got some big hits for us. He's made some huge plays for us. I'm pretty sure that he'd probably like to have a few more home runs, but he's made some big plays."

While Rolen may not have the power numbers he's had in the past -- he hit 34 homers for St. Louis in 2004 -- he has bounced back from a couple of subpar, injury-ridden seasons and has had a productive year for the Jays. Entering Saturday's game, Rolen is hitting .294 -- 12 points above his career average. With 16 doubles in 48 games, he's more than halfway to notching the 30 doubles he hit in 115 games last season.

Rolen has struggled with shoulder problems since 2005 -- he's had three surgeries on his left shoulder in the past four years -- and was forced to make adjustments to his swing last season, when the shoulder landed him on the disabled list once again.

"He doesn't say it, but I don't think his shoulder's ever going to be 100 percent anymore anyway," Gaston said. "He's doing a good job, certainly, for all the injuries he's had, and all the things he had to go through with his shoulder.

"He's hitting. He's driven in some big runs."

Gaston is being careful with Rolen's shoulder, making sure Rolen has time to rest, and generally giving him day games off when they follow night games to avoid taxing the shoulder.

So far, the rest has paid off, as Rolen has stayed off the disabled list through Toronto's first 57 games and he has continued to produce offensively.

"I'm just happy he's still playing," Gaston said. "He's not on the DL. He's run the bases as well as anybody. In certain situations where I see him dive into second or third, I'm just cringing -- hope he can get up and his shoulder's OK.

"He's done a good job for us. I try to rest him here and there, which I think has helped a little bit for him. We need to keep him healthy all year, so right now I'm pleased with what he's done."

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Scott Richmond (4-2, 3.50 ERA)
With two off-days within a week, Richmond's turn in the rotation was skipped, so when he pitches on Saturday it will be his first start since May 24 in Atlanta. In that game, he pitched five innings, earning a no-decision in a game the Jays eventually lost, 8-2. He gave up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and did not issue any walks. Both runs came on solo home runs by Kelly Johnson and Brian McCann -- in the first inning. Richmond also pitched two innings out of the bullpen against the Red Sox at Rogers Centre on May 31, giving up no runs, one hit and one walk while recording one strikeout.

KC: RHP Luke Hochevar (0-2, 10.80 ERA)
Beaten out of a job in Spring Training, Hochevar buckled down, posting a 5-0 record at Triple-A Omaha to earn a promotion May 10 to take Sidney Ponson's place in the rotation. After three starts and two losses, Hochevar was shipped back to Omaha as the team went to four starters through two and a half turns of the rotation. That time is up and, after two starts and one loss for Omaha, Hochevar gets another shot. When Hochevar gets his sinkerball working, as he seemed to do in his last outing at St. Louis, he can be tough to handle. Last year he faced the Blue Jays twice, with a 1-1 record and 3.75 ERA. In the victory he held Toronto to one run in six innings.

Bird Feed
Lyle Overbay's second-inning home run Friday extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Overbay is hitting .432 over that span. ... Aaron Hill went 0-for-5 on Friday, and is now hitless in his past 25 at-bats -- a new career high. No Blue Jay has had a longer slump since Troy Glaus went 0-for-27 in 2007. ... Ricky Romero's seven-inning performance Friday, in which he gave up three runs, was his first quality start and first win in three starts since coming off the disabled list (right oblique strain). ... Marco Scutaro hit three doubles Friday, a career high. ... Adam Lind lined out to left field in his first at-bat Friday, ending his chance to break the club record for most hits in consecutive at-bats. He entered the game with eight hits in his past eight at-bats, which tied the record.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SNET

On radio
• FAN 590

Up next
• Sunday: Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 9-1, 2.77) vs. Royals (Kyle Davies, 2-5, 5.20), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday: Blue Jays (Casey Janssen, 1-2, 5.82) at Rangers (Scott Feldman, 5-0, 3.79), 8:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 3-3, 4.54) at Rangers (Brandon McCarthy, 5-2, 4.92), 8:05 p.m. ET

Erika Gilbert 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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