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Barajas hoping to return to Jays in 2010

Barajas hoping to return to Jays in 2010

BALTIMORE -- Before heading to Camden Yards on Friday afternoon, Vernon Wells, Aaron Hill and Rod Barajas met to discuss their options for handling the leaked reports of friction between Toronto's players and manager Cito Gaston.

"We didn't come to a conclusion on how this should be approached and what should be said," Barajas admitted. "It caught me by surprise. I wasn't expecting to see anything written down. I'm just so surprised from reading that."

Multiple players confirmed that there has been growing frustration with Gaston's approach to managing and they plan on holding a meeting to address the issue over the next two days in Baltimore. For Barajas, who is in his second season with Toronto, the matter includes another layer: the veteran catcher is a free agent after this season.

Communication has been at the heart of the players' complaints about Gaston. Earlier this month, Gaston told the media that he did not believe Barajas was going to be back with the Jays next season. That came as news to Barajas, who has indicated all along that he has interest in re-signing with Toronto.

Barajas said he was not sure if the current riff between the players and Gaston would influence his decision over the offseason.

"Honestly, I haven't thought about that," Barajas said. "Like I've been saying before in the past, I love the guys in this clubhouse. I have a good time when I come to the field. I enjoy my teammates' company, and for me, that's the main thing."

Barajas -- under contract for $2.5 million this season -- is in line to be a Type B free agent, meaning the Blue Jays would receive a compensatory pick in next June's First-Year Player Draft if the catcher signed with another team. Through 123 games with Toronto this year, the 34-year-old catcher has hit .228 with 19 home runs and a career-high 71 RBIs.

Whether or not Barajas returns to the Jays, he said the current mess needs to be sorted out before next season arrives.

"You can't sit there and let problems linger," Barajas said. "A small problem starts growing into a bigger problem, and all of a sudden, if you let this go for another four months, who knows what could happen? So if there are some issues, then absolutely you'd want to be able to talk to whoever you need to talk to to try to resolve them.

"You don't want to go into a brand new season with a whole set of issues. It's going to make for an unhappy season."

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Scott Richmond (8-10, 5.35 ERA)
Richmond is 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against Baltimore this year.

BAL: LHP Mark Hendrickson (5-5, 4.38 ERA)
Hendrickson is 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA in four career games against the Jays.

Bird feed
On Friday, designated hitter Adam Lind was out of the Blue Jays' starting lineup for the second successive game after being struck on the right elbow by a pitch on Tuesday in Boston. With an off-day on Thursday, Lind hoped to be able to play on Friday in Baltimore, but was still feeling some discomfort in his arm. Lind, who is batting .305 with 35 home runs and 114 RBIs, said he hopes to play again in the final two games. ... Despite appearing in just 31 games this season, Randy Ruiz has belted 10 home runs for the Jays. He reached double digits with a solo shot in the fourth inning against the Orioles on Friday. ... The Jays connected for 13 homers in their three-game sweep of the Red Sox earlier this week, marking the most homers in a three-game series in club history. ... The Blue Jays have topped 200 home runs in a season for only the fifth time in franchise history. ... Hill's 36 homers are the third most in one season for an American League second baseman. Alfonso Soriano belted 39 in 2002 and 38 in '03 while with the Yankees. ... Ace Roy Halladay has notched 24 consecutive shutout innings, dating back to Sept. 20. That is the best such run of Halladay's career.

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

On television
• SNET

On radio
• FAN 590

Up next
• Sunday: Blue Jays (Ricky Romero, 13-9, 4.26) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 10-17, 5.05), 1:35 p.m. ET

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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