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08/05/08 7:18 PM ET

Inglett out for second straight game

Jays' utility man bothered by sore knee; Hill's season in doubt

TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston smiled when asked on Tuesday what caused the sore left knee that has kept infielder Joe Inglett out of Toronto's starting lineup for the past two games.

"Other than playing hard?" Gaston replied with a laugh.

Toronto isn't exactly sure what specifically created the discomfort in Inglett's knee -- only that the infielder felt some minor pain beginning on Sunday in Texas. As a precaution, Inglett remained on the bench on Tuesday for the second consecutive contest against Oakland.

Depending on how Inglett feels on Wednesday, Gaston might give him the go-ahead to resume playing. Then again, with the left-hander Gio Gonzalez due to face Toronto on Wednesday, Gaston may elect to give the left-handed-hitting Inglett another day to rest his injury.

"Joe's still a little sore, but feeling better," Gaston said. "We don't know anything as far as how long [he'll be sidelined], but I understand -- from the trainers -- that he's feeling a lot better today.

The Jays would've been hard-pressed to do without the 30-year-old Inglett for much of this season's first four months. The versatile utility man -- claimed off waivers from the Indians last September -- has filled in for a variety of injured players, logging time at third base, second base and at each outfield spot.

Most of Inglett's playing time has come at second base since Aaron Hill landed on the disabled list with post-consussion syndrome at the end of May. Inglett has taken advantage of the increased playing time, hitting .289 with two homers, eight doubles, six triples and 24 RBIs in 73 games for the Blue Jays.

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi likened Inglett to outfielder Reed Johnson, who is now with the Cubs after being released by Toronto at the end of Spring Training.

"In a lot of ways, he gives us an upgrade in a lot of areas in that super-utility role," Ricciardi said. "We look at him and we say, 'We lost Reed and we liked Reed. But, we think Joe gives us a few more options that help us fill in that utility role.' He's done a good job. He's taken the ball and run with it."

Inglett will likely continue to see regular playing time at second base as the Blue Jays inch closer to potentially declaring Hill done for the season. Ricciardi noted that Hill would probably require at least two weeks of game action in the Minor Leagues before being activated from the DL.

With the Minor League season winding down this month, Toronto is running out of time to provide Hill -- struck on the side of the head in a collision with shortstop David Eckstein on May 29 -- with that kind of rehab schedule. That being the case, Ricciardi said the Jays will likely need to make a decision about Hill "in the next few weeks."

"The biggest question we'd probably run into now," Ricciardi said, "is, 'Is there enough time to get [Hill] ready to play?' I think we're getting close to that date. I don't know what that date is, but there comes a time where you may need two weeks -- that's a long time to get ready."

Looking ahead to next year, Ricciardi didn't dismiss the thought that the Jays might consider discussing moving Hill from second base to shortstop, especially with how well Inglett has performed this season.

"I dont know," Ricciardi said. "That might be something we have to look at, but that's a long way off."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.