Cito sits Rolen for second straight game
With slugger hot after rest, skipper eyes three on, one off cycle
TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston knows that it's going to be his responsibility to dictate when Scott Rolen needs to take a day off to rest his ailing left shoulder. Rolen will never ask to be removed from the starting lineup.
"He's that type of guy," Gaston said.
On Monday, Gaston opted to keep Rolen on the bench for the second consecutive game, providing a break for the hard-nosed third baseman. Days off are going to be a trend for Rolen as the season wears on, and Gaston is trying to sort out how to handle that schedule going forward.
Gaston wants to reach a point where he can comfortably pencil Rolen into the lineup for three or four games in a row with an off-day following such a stretch. For now, Gaston liked what he saw from Rolen after the third baseman had consecutive days off on Wednesday and Thursday.
Over the weekend in Texas, Rolen went 2-for-8 at the plate with a home run, a double and five RBIs for the Blue Jays. His showing snapped a season-worst 0-for-17 offensive skid and came after Rolen posted a .163 (13-for-80) average with no homers and five RBIs in 23 games in July.
"He had two days off down there and he drove in five runs in two days," Gaston said. "So, it worked out pretty good. I can live with that. I'd certainly like to get it maybe three on and one off. We're just going to see how it goes with his shoulder."
Toronto revealed on Wednesday that the 33-year-old Rolen -- acquired in the January trade that sent third baseman Troy Glaus to St. Louis -- has been fighting through left shoulder woes. It's the same shoulder that was the culprit behind two operations to repair a torn labrum in 2005, and forced another surgery last September to clean out scar tissue.
Rolen has said that he doesn't believe a fourth procedure will be necessary, and the Blue Jays have echoed that assessment. Rolen noted that the strength and flexibility with his arm are fine, but that his shoulder isn't functioning mechanically the way it should. The third baseman is hoping a rehab program can help ease the fatigue.
"He's not in any pain -- his range of motion is just not good," said Gaston, who wasn't sure if the scheduled days off would last through the end of the year. "I guess it just depends on how much more range of motion he gets. If he feels good about it, we'll go from there."
Rolen, who is owed $26 million over the next two seasons, is batting .254 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs through 84 games with the Blue Jays this season. Rolen spent most of April on the 15-day disabled list after having his right middle finger broken during a fielding incident toward the end of Spring Training.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.