Hill hoping third time won't be a charm
Jays starter making second comeback from Tommy John
TORONTO -- Shawn Hill makes his first Major League start since April 2009 on Thursday, after his second Tommy John surgery was performed last June.
Hill, 29, also had the same surgery in 2004, the same year he won his first big league game with the Montreal Expos against the Blue Jays, which was particularly sweet since he is from the Toronto area, born in Mississauga, Ontario.
Shawn Marcum, who won his 12th game of the season on Tuesday, had the same surgery, so Hill has plenty of understanding and support on the team.
Marcum can relate to what Hill is going through.
"Absolutely," Marcum said. "Not as much as he can, he's on his second one, so I hope I don't have to go through that."
Marcum knows it takes time to get the pitching arm right again.
"I want to say, like the first 18 months, it's kind of a rocky road, up and down," he said. "You never know what you're going to come out with that day.
"There's some days in between starts where you don't feel good and there some days on the day you pitch you don't feel that great. You've just go to out there and battle and do everything you can that day."
Marcum, who had the surgery in September 2008, missed 2009 and has come back strong this season.
Wells enjoying recent power surge
TORONTO -- Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells hit home runs in three straight games entering Wednesday's contest against the Rangers, including two in Tuesday's 8-5 victory.
Wells hit home runs in three successive games once before this season, the first three of the season against the Rangers in Arlington, when he had four in the three-game series.
He says it is all in the hands.
"[I'm] just trying to make consistent contact," Wells said. "[I'm] working in BP, working in the cage, just trying to get back to using my hands."
It is something he was doing well earlier in the year.
"I kind of got away from it," Wells said. "It's been a learning experience, just being able to trust my hands again. It's been a while since I've been able to. It's been a learning year, hopefully I'll learn a lot from it and get better next year."
The two home runs on Tuesday gave him 27 for the season. Wells hit 19 by the end of June. The four home runs he has already in September equal his total for July and August combined.
"Ups and downs, not consistent enough," Wells said of his season so far. "There's been some encouraging times and there's been some times when you you think you have it figured out and you don't. I've been around this game for a long time and I'm still learning things. I think I still have a lot more that I can accomplish in this game."
Wells went 0-for-2 with two walks in Wednesday's 8-1 loss to the Rangers.
Jays take right-handed approach
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays took a decided lean to the right for their game against the Rangers and left-handed starter Derek Holland on Wednesday.
The only left-handed hitter in the lineup was Adam Lind and Jays manager Cito Gaston nearly didn't start him. But Lind was 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs against Holland prior to Wednesday's game, so Gaston put him at first base instead of Lyle Overbay, who also bats left-handed.
Jose Molina started at catcher but John Buck, who does most of the catching, kept his bat in the lineup as the designated hitter. Outfielders Travis Snider and DeWayne Wise did not start and Jose Bautista, who has been playing third base in recent games, moved back to right field. Mike McCoy played left field and Jarrett Hoffpauir started at third.
"I was trying to get as many right-handed hitters in there as I could," Gaston said. "In fact, I wasn't going to play Lind, but then he's got some good numbers off this kid. So I decided to play him too. I was going to get some other right-handers in there, but just changed my mind."
The Blue Jays have had difficulties against left-handed starters this season. They entered Wednesday's game 11-18 when the opposing team started a left-hander.
Holland's only two appearances against Toronto came last season. He made his Major League debut against the Blue Jays on April 22, 2009, and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief at Rogers Centre. Holland started against Toronto in Texas on Aug. 31, 2009, and allowed 10 earned runs in a game the Blue Jays won, 18-10.
Holland allowed three hits and struck out eight in five innings in the Rangers' 8-1 win on Wednesday.
McDonald scratched with arm injury
TORONTO -- John McDonald was scratched from the Blue Jays' starting lineup on Wednesday with what the club said was a sore left arm.
McDonald was scheduled to bat eighth and play third base against the Rangers at Rogers Centre. Jarrett Hoffpauir started in his place.
Hoffpauir went 0-for-2 in the Blue Jays' 8-1 loss.
Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.