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05/05/10 5:25 PM ET

Ruiz missed series for personal reasons

Designated hitter to return for Thursday's game in Chicago

CLEVELAND -- Blue Jays designated hitter Randy Ruiz didn't play in the series against the Indians, and manager Cito Gaston said after Wednesday's game that Ruiz was unavailable.

"We were actually playing a man short," Gaston said. "It's just some personal things."

Gaston did not elaborate, but he said Ruiz would be with the team Thursday for the series opener against the White Sox.

Ruiz has struggled this season, batting .095 (2-for-21) in eight games. His last hit, a solo home run, came on April 17 against the Angels.

Hill finds his timing again at plate

CLEVELAND -- Aaron Hill is returning to form, and that's bad news for opposing pitchers.

Hill hasn't been himself at the plate since coming off the disabled list last month, but the second baseman has strung together three consecutive multihit games. Hill is still waiting for some power, but he has found his stroke.

"It's just any time you miss seeing the live pitching for a while, you're going to have a timing issue," Hill said. "I never doubted that it would come back."

Hill hit .286 with 36 home runs last season. After coming back from the 15-day DL this season, Hill was batting .156 (5-for-32) before getting three hits Sunday against the A's. He had a pair of hits in each of the first two games against Cleveland.

"Obviously, there's a long way to go, it's a long season, but you never measure yourself by your first 40 at-bats," Hill said. "I mean, you look in September when you have 700, you can talk about how the year went. It's just timing. It feels good."

Manager Cito Gaston knew it was only a matter of time before the real Aaron Hill stepped back into the box.

"He's been on the DL, but he's getting his timing going," Gaston said.

McDonald takes pride in being 'extra guy'

CLEVELAND -- John McDonald is ready to do whatever his manager asks of him.

Whether it is the perfect bunt or taking a big cut when a slow runner is on second, McDonald takes his role as an "extra guy" seriously.

McDonald was out of the lineup for the third straight game Wednesday, but he is doing a better job of making sure he takes advantage when he plays.

"You try to approach every day like you're in the lineup," he said. "Obviously, you're a little disappointed when you don't see your name in there, but my preparation is the exact same every day.

"When you're not playing, you want to try to get better at something. The extra guys work every day making sure that if we are going to play that day, we're ready to step in and do the job. If we fail, we want to make sure it's not because we weren't prepared."

McDonald got a late promotion to the lineup Sunday when Travis Snider was out with flulike symptoms. McDonald took advantage, knocking an RBI triple in the second inning. With a runner on second and no one out, it looked like a bunt situation.

The runner at second was catcher John Buck, a slower runner, which changed everything.

"I think that's fantastic, because we're in the business of trying to win ballgames," McDonald said. "You check your personal goals or your ego at the door when you come to the ballpark. It would have been great if he'd asked me to bunt. It'd have taken great pride in getting that bunt down."

Snider shows promise in 8-for-19 stretch

CLEVELAND -- Travis Snider has caught fire of late, and his manager can stand the heat.

Snider is living up to Cito Gaston's hopes for him, going 8-for-19 over his last five games, and he is doing so consistently.

"This is a kid we're looking forward to seeing play a long time and really help this ball club," Gaston said. "The last few days, he's done those things."

Snider had struggled early on this season. In his first 11 games, the right fielder went 4-for-36, but he has progressed in the weeks since.

Gaston stuck with Snider through that, and now, he has emerged from the struggle on his own terms.

"I'd say I'm just starting to find the timing and the consistency and the approach of hitting a good pitch," Snider said. "When I get that good pitch, I'm putting a good swing on it. It's been a bit of a grind the first month of the season."

He went 3-for-5 in Tuesday's 8-5 win, driving in a run and scoring two. Snider was back in the lineup Wednesday, moving up a spot to the eight-hole because Jose Molina is catching.

"It's been great the support [Gaston has] shown me, to put me in the lineup every day and to give me a chance to work myself out of this slump," Snider said.

Worth noting

Ricky Romero made three wild pitches in six innings of work Tuesday, pushing his total to a Major League-leading 10 wild pitches this season. He became the first Toronto pitcher to throw three wild pitches and win since Woody Williams did it on Aug. 8, 1997, against the Tigers. ... Jose Bautista homered Monday and Tuesday, giving him taters in back-to-back games for the first time since he did it in four straight games in September and October of last season.

Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.