CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Lineup shuffle in store for Blue Jays

Lineup shuffle in store for Blue Jays

ARLINGTON -- With the Blue Jays 24 1/2 games back and out of the postseason picture, the team is looking ahead to next year.

Before Wednesday's series finale against the Rangers, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said he would like to see a lineup that includes a versatile No. 2 hitter and left fielder Adam Lind moving to the cleanup spot next year.

Right now, Toronto has second baseman Aaron Hill hitting second. Hill is having a breakout year, going into Wednesday's game with a .287 average, 31 home runs and 88 RBIs.

"I would like to have a No. 2 guy that you could hit and run with," Gaston said. "I wouldn't do that with Hill, though. That's not his game right now. Why use him like that? The perfect thing would be to have a guy in the second spot that can hit and run. And one that'd be willing to sacrifice himself, and maybe bunt a guy over."

So, next Spring Training, Gaston said he would like to possibly move Hill down to the No. 3 spot and Lind to the No. 4 spot.

Lind, though, has never liked being in the cleanup role, telling Gaston that he doesn't feel comfortable in that spot. But in four starts there this year, Lind is hitting .294 with three doubles and two runs scored. Gaston intends to try and acclimate Lind to that role in March.

"We're going to work on that in Spring Training," Gaston said. "I hope he can get accustomed to hitting in that spot. He's had such a great year, I don't want anything to get in his head.

"But everyone makes a big deal out of the fourth hitter. It's just a word, just a phrase. What does it mean? It doesn't mean a whole lot, the way I look at it. It just means you get more at-bats."

With the lineup sure to shuffle over the offseason, Gaston was asked if Vernon Wells, who is currently the fifth hitter, could be the versatile No. 2 he desired. Gaston said he'd prefer Wells to stay in the middle of the lineup.

While all the talk around the Blue Jays' clubhouse was geared towards next year's lineup, there was some relevant news about this season.

Gaston said that Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil would start two more games this season, rather than one. Cecil is scheduled to start on Saturday against the Yankees and will also start on Sept. 11 at Detroit.

The reason the team is going with Cecil for an additional game is because he lasted only five innings against the Rangers on Monday night. Cecil still won, improving to 6-3 on the season with a 5.42 ERA. He has thrown 83 innings so far this year.

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

{}
{}