MINNEAPOLIS -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston has mostly stayed out of Toronto's ongoing search for his successor. There have been a few cases, however, where Gaston has offered a name or two to general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
"I've given a few names," said Gaston, who is retiring from managing at the end of the season. "But a lot of the names I give are because people come to me. They come to me and I just pass it along sometimes. That's what a lot of it has been."
One person that Gaston has suggested is Rockies hitting coach Don Baylor. On Thursday, a report on SI.com indicated that Colorado has granted permission for the Blue Jays to conduct an interview with Baylor.
Gaston was pleased to hear that Baylor was being considered.
"I think Don deserves an interview and another chance," Gaston said. "Don was a good player. He's a hitting coach also, and he's managed before. You guys who have seen him play and know him a little bit, you know what kind of player he was and what kind of guy he is.
"He does bring a presence when he walks in the room. I think it'd be good for him [to interview], whether he gets it or not. I'm happy to hear they are going to consider him and take a look at him. That's good."
Baylor managed the Rockies from 1993-98 and also served as the Cubs' skipper from 2000-02. Gaston would not say whether he mentioned Baylor's name to the Blue Jays on his own, or if the Rockies' hitting coach came to him.
Gaston said one name he floated to the Jays' brass is Juan Samuel, who worked as an interim manager for the Orioles earlier this year prior to Baltimore's hiring of Buck Showalter. Beyond Samuel, Gaston would not go into detail about the names he has discussed with Anthopoulos.
"I don't want to mention names," Gaston said. "Some of the guys, they're qualified for it."
Two internal candidates for the Blue Jays are third-base coach Brian Butterfield and bench coach Nick Leyva. Other names that have been linked to Toronto's search have been Yankees third-base coach Rob Thomson and former big league managers Bob Melvin and Eric Wedge.
"Really, I don't know what sort of manager you need here," Gaston said. "I don't know what kind of team they're going to have here next year, because there's a lot of unanswered questions as far as free agency and adding some people.
"So I don't know. Are you looking to win next year, or are you looking to win two years or three years from now? I think you'd have to get somebody that's experienced."
Morneau: No grudge against McDonald
MINNEAPOLIS -- Prior to Thursday's game at Target Field, Twins slugger Justin Morneau, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, took some swings in a batting cage on the field and later gloved some ground balls.
Inside the Blue Jays' clubhouse was John McDonald, who played an unfortunate role in Morneau's prolonged battle with post-concussion syndrome. On July 7 in Toronto, McDonald accidentally kneed a sliding Morneau in the head at second base while trying to turn a double play.
Morneau -- sidelined for the past three months and now trying to prove he is recovered enough to help Minnesota at some point in the playoffs -- does not hold any sort of grudge against McDonald. It was a fluke play, and the Twins' first baseman has told McDonald not to feel guilty about what happened.
"He called me the next day when we were in the clubhouse there and asked me how I was doing," Morneau said on Thursday. "He apologized. I told him he didn't need to apologize. It was a baseball play. I was trying to take him out at second. It was just an unfortunate situation. He's obviously not trying to knee me in the head.
"It was just something that happened. I'm not going to go into second any differently and he's not going to try to turn double plays any differently. He's a great guy and I appreciated him calling. He's been checking on me through [various people]. I don't hold anything against him, that's for sure."
Jays sticking with veterans against Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston does not want to mess too much with his lineup as long as the Twins are still battling for home-field advantage in the playoffs. On Thursday, Minnesota remained in a tight race with the Yankees and Rays for that right.
"On Sunday, if they don't have a chance," Gaston said, "if they're out of it, maybe we can run some of the kids out there and let them play."
The main "kid" in question is top catching prospect J.P. Arencibia, who has resided on the bench for most of the past month. Gaston noted that he wanted to keep veteran John Buck in the lineup as long as the All-Star had a shot at reaching 20 home runs. Buck achieved that milestone Wednesday.
On Thursday against the Twins, though, Gaston kept Buck in the lineup as the designated hitter and gave Jose Molina the nod behind the plate. Beyond respecting the playoff situation, Gaston said he also feels he owes it to his pitchers to put the best group behind them.
"I don't think it's fair," Gaston said, "for them to go out there and not have the guys that got them to that point. I just think it's the thing to do."
Many Blue Jays fans have been wondering what exactly was in the green box that center fielder Vernon Wells presented to Cito Gaston during a farewell ceremony for the manager on Wednesday. The players gave Gaston a Rolex watch that included an inscription that read, "Work it from right to left." Why the golf reference? "They wanted to put something on there about something other than baseball," Gaston said with a smile. ... Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow, who was shut down on Sept. 2 due to reaching his innings limit, was allowed to head home to Arizona to get an early start to his offseason. "He was getting bored," Gaston joked. ... Toronto entered Thursday with a Major League-leading 247 home runs. That represents the fifth most by a team in a single season in baseball history (1. Seattle, 1997, 264; 2. Texas, 2005, 260; 3. Baltimore, 1996, 257; 4. Houston, 2000, 249). ... Left fielder Travis Snider entered Thursday riding a career-best 11-game hitting streak, during which he had hit .356 (16-for-45) with four home runs, two doubles, six RBIs and eight runs scored. ... With an 8-4 win over the Yankees on Wednesday, the Blue Jays concluded their 2010 home slate with a 45-33 record at Rogers Centre.