CHICAGO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston has decided the time has come to begin working Randy Ruiz into the lineup more often. Stranded on the bench for much of the season so far, Ruiz was in the fifth spot and at first base for Sunday's game against the White Sox. He fanned in his first plate appearance.
"I'm just trying to get Ruiz in there once in a while," Gaston said. "I'm going to do my best to try to get him in a couple days a week, if I can. We'll see what happens. He got a couple hits the other day. It was a left-hander, but we'll see what happens."
Gaston was referring to Ruiz's 2-for-3 performance on Friday night, when Sox lefty Mark Buehrle was on the mound. On Sunday, the right-handed-hitting Ruiz got the nod against Chicago right-hander Gavin Floyd, leaving the left-handed-hitting Lyle Overbay on the bench.
During Toronto's last homestand, Gaston said that the Blue Jays had made an "organizational commitment" to use Overbay as a full-time player. Through 31 games, though, Overbay has hit at a .179 clip. Entering Sunday, the Jays' regular first baseman was batting .171 over his last 12 games.
Ruiz entered the day hitting only .167 this season, but he has appeared in just 10 games (eight starts), including Sunday. His first plate appearance on Sunday was his 25th of the season. Last year, Ruiz hit .313, with 10 homers and 17 RBIs, in a 33-game stint with Toronto. Gaston said Ruiz would likely spell Overbay on occasion, or he would serve as the designated hitter on days when an outfielder gets a day off.
"We'll work it out there to kind of see if we can get him some more at-bats," Gaston said.
Janssen rebounds after tough seventh
CHICAGO -- Right-hander Casey Janssen would have understood if Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston turned to another reliever during his appearance on Saturday night. Instead, after Janssen issued two critical, bases-loaded walks in the seventh inning, Gaston gave the pitcher one more frame.
Janssen retired the only three Chicago hitters he faced in the eighth inning of the 7-3 loss to the White Sox, giving the right-hander something positive to focus on. Ending his night an inning earlier might have made things worse on Janssen.
"It was nice that I could get out there and have a clean inning," Janssen said on Sunday. "Hopefully, I'll carry some of it over."
During the seventh inning, Gaston turned to Janssen with two runners and two outs, hoping the righty would halt a Sox rally that had the Jays trailing, 5-1. After an intentional walk to Alex Rios, Janssen issued back-to-back free passes with the bases loaded, forcing in a pair of runs, to extend Chicago's lead.
Janssen escaped the inning with a flyout off the bat of Alexei Ramirez, but the damage had been done.
"Last night was disappointing," Janssen said. "I still believe I'm a strike-thrower. To just not be able to find the strike zone in a key situation was pretty frustrating for me. Even still, I believe in my stuff. I believe in my approach. Everything is feeling good.
"As a reliever, you've got to have a short memory. It's tough. That kind of made the game become out of reach, and that's disappointing, as well. But today is a new day, and I'll be ready when called upon."
It was the continuation of a rough stretch of appearances for Janssen. Entering Sunday, the right-hander had given up seven runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings across five games. During that span, Janssen allowed six inherited runners to score and issued three walks, watching his season ERA climb from 1.17 to 5.84.
"If you still have your confidence ... things will work out," Janssen said. "Hopefully, you get 60 or so appearances. Hopefully, these five don't make my season, and you can still have something good to talk about at the end of the year."
HIll, Lind trying to find traction for Jays
CHICAGO -- Aaron Hill and Adam Lind emerged as a potent one-two punch for the Blue Jays last season. Right now, the pair of sluggers have slipped into a slump, though other Toronto hitters have helped to overcome their struggles.
"That's what teammates are about," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "It's very seldom that you have the same guy every night that's the hero. If you do, you're not going to win too many games. You're going to have other people that step up to win some ballgames for you."
Neither had a hit in his first at-bat on Sunday against Gavin Floyd. Entering the day, Hill (8-for-40) and Lind (4-for-40) had combined to hit just .150 over the past 10 games. Over that span, Toronto posted an 8-2 record, thanks in part to the production of hot hitters like catcher John Buck (.382 average, seven homers, 12 RBIs) and shortstop Alex Gonzalez (five homers, 11 RBIs).
"Everybody needs to contribute and pick up other guys," Gaston said. "That's what winning teams are about. It's not the same guy every night."
Entering Sunday, the Blue Jays had scored 48.7 percent of their runs (74-of-152) on home runs this season. In the American League, that ranked second only to the White Sox (50.4 percent). ... Toronto ranked first in the Major Leagues with 48 home runs and 139 extra-base hits, but last with 122 singles through Saturday. ... Over the past 10 games, Blue Jays shortstop Alex Gonzalez has hit just .216, but he has made the most of his eight hits with five home runs and two doubles.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.