05/22/10 12:23 PM ET
Lewis sits as Gaston shuffles DH-less lineup
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
"It's not an easy one," Gaston said of the lineup dilemma.
Gaston opted to provide Fred Lewis with a day off from starting in the outfield, considering Toronto's regular leadoff man had no career experience against D-backs starter Edwin Jackson. Sitting at his locker prior to Saturday's game, Lewis sidestepped questions about being moved to the bench.
"I've got nothing to say about that," Lewis said. "That's not my decision. I'm not surprised. It's the National League -- there's no DH. So, it's tough. I'm fine with it."
Lewis' reaction made him appear upset at the decision, but he clarified his stance on the reorganized lineup on Twitter under his handle of @fdotlew: "Day-off with a positive note. Rest up because days like these don't come very often. Be ready when your # is called."
Pulling Lewis out of the lineup prompted Gaston to shift right fielder Jose Bautista, who launched his team-leading 13th homer in Friday's 8-6 loss to Arizona, into the leadoff spot. Adam Lind -- Toronto's regular DH -- got the nod in left field one day after belting a pinch-hit, solo homer in the ninth inning.
Gaston's decision also kept third baseman Edwin Encarnacion in the lineup after he launched three home runs in Friday's Interleague loss. Bautista has the ability to man third base as well, and Gaston noted that having him play first base -- spelling Lyle Overbay -- remains another alternative for the Jays.
Gaston, who believes the DH should be used throughout all Interleague Play contests, just hoped the day off did not do anything to slow Lewis' bat. Lewis has hit at a .329 clip this month and belted a leadoff homer on Friday night.
"Guys can lose their swing," Gaston said. "[Lewis is] out of there tonight and he's hitting the ball well. Believe it or not, you can lose your stroke in one day sometimes. Some guys don't, but some guys do. It's not too healthy."
Lewis did make it into Saturday's tilt against the D-backs, entering the game in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement for center fielder Vernon Wells. Lewis finished 0-for-2 at the plate with a strikeout and a groundout.
Gaston wants DH used in all Interleague Play
PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball altered the rules for the All-Star Game last month, making a change that calls for the designated hitter to be used in the Midsummer Classic in both American League and National League ballparks.
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston believes the same should go for Interleague Play.
"I don't want to be the guy that says he doesn't like it," said Gaston, when asked about Interleague Play. "I think it's great, I just think they need to change the rules a little bit. I can't figure out how it can be fair to come [to an NL park] and not use my DH when [NL teams] come to our place and get to use one of their pinch-hitters that needs some at-bats anyway.
"I don't know how you call that fair. That's not fair at all, but it's something that's going to happen no matter what I say. They're going to keep doing it, but I think they just need to change the rules like they have in the All-Star Game and [allow] the DH all the time."
Gaston went a step further, saying he would not mind seeing the DH used in both leagues all the time.
"I played in the National League for 10 years," Gaston said. "But I guess I've been over here so long that I'm a big fan of the DH myself. I think people come out to watch offense."
Gregg will be available in save situation
PHOENIX -- Cito Gaston will not hesitate to use closer Kevin Gregg in the next save situation the club faces, but the Blue Jays manager believes the pitcher could benefit from a few more days off. Gregg has struggled some of late and Gaston thinks the closer's work load could be a factor.
"Giving him an extra day is not going to hurt him at all," Gaston said. "He's a kid that tells you he's ready all the time. But it's my job to manage people and for me to look at that and see and learn if that's the right way to go. You have to learn your pitchers."
Gregg opened the season with eight consecutive saves converted, but has labored some over his past six appearances, dating back to May 7. Over that recent stretch, the right-hander has allowed six runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings, picking up one loss, blowing two saves and posting a 10.13 ERA.
"If we get the lead in the ninth inning, you will see him," Gaston said. "But I would like to have a big lead and just give him another day off if I could."
The six home runs that the Blue Jays launched in Fridays' 8-6 loss to the D-backs marked the third-highest single-game home run total in club history (achieved five times). ... Entering Saturday, the Jays led the Majors with 72 home runs, 188 extra-base hits and a .468 slugging percentage. ... Toronto is the only big league club to currently boast three players with at least 30 RBIs (Jose Bautista, 34; Vernon Wells, 32; Alex Gonzalez, 30). That trio has also combined for 34 homers and 96 RBIs, representing the most in either category for a Major League trio. ... When third baseman Edwin Encarnacion belted three homers in Friday, it marked the first time a Jays third baseman accomplished the feat since Darnell Coles on July 5, 1994. Encarnacion's trifecta also represented the first three-homer game by a Jays player in Interleague Play in team history.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.