Hill will return to lineup on Friday
All-Star has been sidelined with sore right hamstring
TORONTO -- Blue Jays All-Star second baseman Aaron Hill will come off the 15-day disabled list on Friday when the Jays travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays. Hill has been sidelined by a sore right hamstring since the first week of the season.
Hill is currently at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., but did not play in any Minor League rehab games before his scheduled return. Instead, took part in extended Spring Training.
While Hill was a major contributor to the Blue Jays offense last season -- batting .286 with 36 HR and 108 RBIs -- the Jays have managed to cope without him, leading the league in numerous offensive categories.
Going into Wednesday's game against the Royals, the Jays led Major League Baseball with 66 extra base hits, 11 more than the Rockies who ranked second. Toronto's 43 doubles also led MLB, eight ahead of the Rockies and Red Sox.
Hill will play second base and bat No. 2 in the lineup. John McDonald and Mike McCoy, who have been platooning at second base, will likely slide back into reserve roles.
Camp becoming top 'pen choice for Gaston
TORONTO -- Blue Jays reliever Shawn Camp is by no means a household name in Toronto, but he is certainly making a name for himself with the person that matters most, manager Cito Gaston.
After Camp earned his first win of the season while pitching a crucial 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Tuesday's comeback win against the Royals, Gaston said that Camp is one of his most dependable bullpen options.
"Shawn Camp is really underrated," Gaston said. "He's never not wanted the ball -- you give it to him, he gives you everything he has. He's one of those guys I really, really like in the bullpen, and I think maybe you can tell that because I always go and get him when something is on the line. He got us through an important sixth and seventh [inning] -- that was big."
Camp, who struggled in his 2007 campaign with the Rays -- an 0-3 record with a 7.20 ERA -- believes the city of Toronto, along with pitching coach Bruce Walton are what saved his career. Heading into Wednesday's contest against the Royals, Camp is 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA through 10 innings of work.
"I think the difference [between 2007 and present] is coming over to Toronto," Camp said. "I've just learned more here than I ever have. After that down year in '07, I just took the offseason to clear my head. As soon as I came over here, I met Bruce. He took me aside and taught me some new things. I think it's just a fresh start -- this place has really rejuvenated my career."
Camp also paid homage to the other strong arms in the bullpen, noting that the Jays have enough quality relief pitching to handle any situation.
"I think there are a lot of guys down there that you can hand the ball over to," Camp said. "There are some guys that can get lefties out, which is a good thing to have in a bullpen because there are a lot of [left-handed hitters] in the league who can do some damage.
"Obviously you want your starters to go as deep as they can, but there are certain times during the season where you need middle relief to help get to that back end of the bullpen, which in our case is pretty strong with Scott Downs, Jason Frasor and Kevin Gregg."
While the middle-relief position is an important, but often overlooked role, Camp says he is happy with how things are going so far.
"I'll just take my role, run with it and see what happens," Camp said.
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.