Hill held out of lineup, but Jays optimistic

Hill held out of lineup, but Jays optimistic

BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays are still optimistic about second baseman Aaron Hill's chances of avoiding a trip to the disabled list, but the team is still erring on the side of caution. On Saturday, Hill was not in Toronto's lineup for the third straight game due to a sore right hamstring.

Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said he is leaning toward having Hill sit out Sunday's series finale in Baltimore as well, giving the second baseman an extra day to possibly be ready for Monday's home opener in Toronto. Hill did not take part in pregame activities on Saturday, but Gaston said he may be cleared to field grounders and hit off a tee on Sunday.

"He's still day-to-day. He's a little bit better," Gaston said on Saturday at Camden Yards. "Every day that he doesn't play, it gets a little better, but I'm not sure if he's even going to be able to play this series. He's going to maybe do a little more tomorrow to see how he feels.

"There's a chance [Hill could play Sunday], but to actually risk him missing more days, I'd almost rather have him take it off. But, if he feels like he can play, we'll play him. I'm thinking maybe Monday, if we're lucky."

Hill, 28, injured the hamstring when he landed awkwardly during a diving play in the ninth inning of the Blue Jays' season opener in Texas on April 5. Hill played through some discomfort on Wednesday and was then scratched from the lineup for a game against the Rangers on Thursday. In two games this season, Hill has gone just 1-for-8 at the plate.

Gaston said that the Blue Jays have had to slow Hill down, because the second baseman wants to return to the lineup as soon as possible. The All-Star hoped to take part in pregame drills on Saturday, but Toronto's medical staff decided against it. The Blue Jays want to make sure Hill is back at full strength before he takes the field again.

"He's a gamer, all the way," Gaston said. "He actually feels bad, He feels like he's letting the team down by not playing. I just tell him we'd rather have him back healthy for a long period of time than a short period of time. We'll just see what happens tomorrow."