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05/04/07 8:46 PM ET
Notes: Frasor working out kinks
Jays reliever optimistic despite recent struggles
By Shawn Smajstrla / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- It has been a forgettable week for Jays reliever Jason Frasor. He surrendered the game-winning hit in Toronto's loss Thursday at Cleveland and has been tagged for seven earned runs in his last 2 1/3 innings. Thursday night, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi hinted on a radio show that Frasor could face demotion to the Minors. On Friday, before Toronto's game at Texas, manager John Gibbons was quick to defend his struggling pitcher and maintained that he has confidence in him. "I see no need for that," Gibbons said of the idea of sending Frasor down. "He's been a pretty good pitcher for us. You can count how many tough outings he's had on two fingers." Fraser has appeared in 13 games this season and sports a 1-1 record with a 6.39 ERA and two blown saves in four opportunities. When asked Friday if he'd heard any demotion talk, Frasor indicated he knew nothing about the possibility of being sent down. "That's the first I've heard of it," he said. Frasor also acknowledged that he's mired in a tough stretch. "It's been a rough week," he said. "It's really been just this week. Walks got me in trouble a few times and I'm just not making good pitches right now. What can you do? Just keep working hard and pounding the strike zone. That's all I can do." Gibbons hinted that some of the heat on Frasor could simply be a by-product of a struggling team. "It's a long season," he said. "Wins are all crucial, especially when you're struggling. But you know what? You're going to need these guys. I still look back and I see some pretty good outings out of [Frasor]. He's helped us win some games." Wells not in lineup again: Outfielder Vernon Wells was left out of the lineup on Friday. The veteran is suffering from an illness that has sidelined him for three of the last five games. Wells visited a doctor while the team was in Cleveland after suffering flu-like symptoms. He still felt too weak to play on Friday. "It's a virus," Wells said. "I've just got to let it runs its course." Wells couldn't speculate on whether he would be in any shape to play on Saturday. Gibbons also declined to speculate on how soon Wells might return to the lineup. "He's still struggling a little bit," Gibbons said. Hill's leadoff experiment over: Aaron Hill's stint in the leadoff spot lasted one game. The second baseman stepped into the one hole for the first time in his career on Thursday at Cleveland and went 0-for-5. Hill doesn't feel his lack of success at the plate had anything to do with where he was hitting in the order. "It's going to happen," he said. "Even if I was in the seven hole or the whatever hole. It made no difference where I was sitting. I don't think any different. My approach is still the same." Hill was slotted second in the order Friday night at Texas. He leads the team with 22 RBIs and has already matched his home run total (6) from last season. "I'm just more comfortable with where my swing is at," Hill said. "Instead of going up to bat and thinking about this and that, now it just comes more natural." Glaus back -- with a vengeance: Since returning from the disabled list on April 28, third baseman Troy Glaus has hit .429 (9-for-21) including three home runs, two doubles, and eight RBIs. He has an RBI in each of the seven games since his return. Glaus is quick to attribute some of that success to his teammates. "The guys around me and everybody in the lineup has been hitting pretty well," he said. "The last week has been all right." As for the heel injury that has plagued him, Glaus says simply, "It is what it is. It's no worse." Thomas focused: Frank Thomas is closing in on several milestones. The Big Hurt is nine homers away from 500, and is just four roundtrippers from tying Edgar Martinez for the most home runs (243) by a designated hitter. Those numbers won't be running through his head when he steps to the plate, though. "I'm not even focusing on it all," he said. "I've just been trying to get my stroke back together. Things are starting to come around a little bit. Home runs are a product of working hard, and I'm definitely not going to stop working hard." Up next: Blue Jays righty Roy Halladay (4-0, 2.28) faces Texas for the second time in a week. He will be countered by right-hander Vicente Padilla (0-4, 5.56). In his previous outing against the Rangers, Halladay went the distance and allowed only one run on five hits while striking out eight. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.
Shawn Smajstrla is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.