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Keeping Scutaro on Toronto's wish list

Keeping Scutaro on Toronto's wish list

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Toronto Blue Jays' season has been on a downward spiral for a month, and it has reached the point of already looking ahead to next year.

The Blue Jays have lost 11 of their past 14 games and have fallen to 12 games under .500, virtually sealing their fate of a 16th straight year with no playoff appearance.

Now, it's time for the Blue Jays to see what they have within the organization. Major League rosters expand on Tuesday, and the Blue Jays will call up some of their prospects for a brief big league audition.

Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, though, wasn't going to talk about what players would be called up until they arrived. It's assumed, however, that the team will add some pitching depth, especially with a doubleheader against the Rangers scheduled for Tuesday.

Gaston did, however, talk about his wish list heading into the offseason, headlined by making a pitch for the team to re-sign shortstop Marco Scutaro.

"Well, I hope we get him back," Gaston said. "I don't know, maybe we have got a shot. It's just one of those things."

Scutaro is making $1.1 million this season but that number will surely rise, as he has established himself as one of the better leadoff hitters in the game. Scutaro is in the midst of a career year and entered Monday's game with a .292 average, 11 home runs, 55 RBIs and a .386 on-base percentage.

Outside of shortstop, Gaston said the team would most likely need a catcher and an outfielder, as well. Current Blue Jays catcher Rod Barajas is a free agent, and the team could use another corner outfielder.

When asked whether the team needed a closer, Gaston replied: "Not really. We won't be looking for a closer."

The team released former All-Star B.J. Ryan this season, but left-hander Scott Downs has proved to be a more than capable fill-in. Downs has converted nine of 12 saves this season, posting a 3.13 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings pitched.

The Blue Jays have also used right-hander Jason Frasor in the closing role. Frasor has converted six of eight save opportunities, posting a 6-2 record with a 1.83 ERA.

As far as this season is concerned, Gaston said it fell apart because of the lack of hitting from the bottom half of the lineup. Outside of Scutaro, Aaron Hill and Adam Lind, the Blue Jays' offense has been inconsistent.

That was illustrated in Sunday's 7-0 loss at Boston, when just-off-the-street Red Sox starter Paul Byrd threw six shutout innings allowing only three hits.

"We just didn't hit," Gaston said. "I've heard managers that have had teams that hit with no pitching. And teams that pitch with no hitting. I'll tell you what -- I'd rather have a team that hits because at least you have a chance. If you don't hit, everything looks bad.

"You know, the effort has been there. It's just not happening. We just have three guys in the lineup that have been hitting."

The Blue Jays are hoping that's not the case next year.

Drew Davison is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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