Notes: Jays deny Law's report
Wells denies conversation referenced on blog
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays insist that it's a non-issue. Keith Law, who spent more than four years as an advisor to Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi before joining ESPN as a baseball writer, referenced a conversation that the Jays say never took place. That's why the the team isn't getting that worked up over it.
"It's so comical that I don't know whether to laugh or to throw up," Ricciardi joked on Monday -- three days after Law's blog entry was posted on ESPN.com.
The article in question dealt with the contract situation involving Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells. The two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner is under contract through next season, but the Jays plan on discussing an extension with Wells.
Both Toronto's front office and the outfielder have maintained all year long that they don't want to address the contract issue until after the current season is complete. That's where Law's article differed from every other published report thus far.
Law wrote: "Vernon Wells has told Blue Jays' management that he has no intention of signing a contract extension to stay in Toronto."
During a radio interview with THE FAN 590 in Toronto on Sunday, Law went into more detail.
"As I understand it, the Blue Jays approached Vernon Wells' representatives and said, 'We want to talk about a contract extension,'" Law said in the interview. "The response from Vernon Wells' camp was, 'We're not interested in a contract extension.'"
"Nothing could be further from the truth," Ricciardi said. "I've always said [writers] can say we stink, they can say we made a bad trade, but to write something that has no truth to it? Come on."
Ricciardi also pointed out that Law didn't cite any sources in his blog entry and that, when Law was a member of Toronto's front office staff, he wasn't always informed about contract negotiations. Toronto's GM also didn't understand why Law wouldn't have called to double-check his facts with the team that employed him from 2002 until earlier this year.
"I didn't go through any kind of inappropriate channels to acquire this," Law said. "It was actually something that came to me from people who had direct and indirect knowledge of the conversation that I believe took place between Vernon and/or his representatives and members of Blue Jays management."
Wells, who entered Monday hitting .316 with 28 home runs and 84 RBIs, also denied that the conversation in question ever occurred. The center fielder continues to say he doesn't want to discuss the issue until the postseason.
Speier throws: Jays reliever Justin Speier, who landed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 8, threw on Monday for the first time since suffering a right forearm injury. Toronto head trainer George Poulis indicated that Speier "felt great" after the brief session.
The injury is similar to one that Speier -- 1-0 with a 3.05 ERA in 51 games for Toronto this year -- suffered in May 2004. That ailment forced the right-hander to miss around three weeks, which is the same amount of time that Ricciardi said he believed the pitcher would have to miss this time around.
If Ricciardi's assessment proves to be correct, that means Speier could be back before September. That's good news for the Jays, but pitchers Brandon League (2.08 ERA) and Jeremy Accardo (1.84) have performed well in Speier's place.
"That's a big hole you've got to fill," Toronto manager John Gibbons said about Speier. "But we found out a little bit about them. They've both done a good job."
Power outage: The effects of the staph infection seem to be lingering in the bat of Alex Rios. The right fielder missed more than a month due to the infection earlier this season and his timing at the plate hasn't been the same since returning to the lineup on July 28.
In the 20 games Rios had played since coming back, he had hit .213 with no home runs, nine RBIs and just one extra-base hit. Those numbers are much different than the first half, in which Rios hit .330 with 15 homers and 53 RBIs.
"That month really set him back -- it really did," Gibbons said. "I'm not worried about his home runs. You know that's in there -- he just has to get his swing working right."
In the first inning on Monday, Rios unloaded on a 3-2 pitch from Oakland's Dan Haren and sent it deep to left field for a solo home run -- his 16th of the season. It was his first blast since June 14.
Did you know? For the first time since 2002, the Blue Jays have eight players with 10 or more home runs. The most players Toronto has had reach double digits in homers in a single season was nine -- set in 1983 and 1987. If Jays catcher Gregg Zaun (eight homers) and outfielder Frank Catalanotto (seven) reach 10 blasts this year, the club would have a team-record 10 players reach the mark.
Quotable: "At this rate, he's going to be in a good position. He's in the driver's seat." -- Gibbons, on Wells' contract situation
Coming up: Toronto right-hander A.J. Burnett (5-5, 4.29 ERA) is scheduled to take on Oakland lefty Brad Halsey (3-3, 4.50 ERA) at 7:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday at the Rogers Centre.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.