BALTIMORE -- Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill did not spend much time thinking about baseball over the All-Star break.
"I didn't have time," Hill said with a laugh. "I was with my little girl the whole time. It was nice."
Hill spent the break at his home in Florida with his wife and 10-month-old daughter, using the days off to clear his mind of what was a draining first half. On Friday, Hill returned in a big way, going 3-for-4 with a double and a home run in a 4-2 win over the Orioles.
One game does not make a second half, but it was a nice way to get things rolling after Hill labored through a persistent slump over the first 3 1/2 months of the season. It was just the 11th multihit game of the year for the second baseman and only the fourth three-hit performance.
"I hope last night is going to get him going," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said Saturday. "He's got to be feeling good about himself today with what he did last night."
"It was great," Hill said. "I felt relaxed. I didn't feel much different -- I just got a few hits."
Entering Saturday's game, Hill was batting .196 with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs through 72 games for the Jays this season. A year ago, Hill made the American League All-Star team and earned a Silver Slugger Award after hitting at a .286 clip with 36 homers and 108 RBIs.
Hill has downplayed the slump, choosing instead to focus on the fact that there are still a lot of games. The second baseman believes sticking to the same routine and not dwelling on the past are important components to freeing himself from his offensive woes. Over-analyzing can only lead to more trouble.
"In this game," Hill said, "the more you try to get yourself out of it, the more you're just going to dig yourself in a hole. It's human nature -- sometimes you just do -- and that's what I did early. You've just got to let your mind go, relax and just play the game.
"You just hate when you underperform and you hate when you don't do things that you know you can do -- in anything -- whether it's baseball or whatever. It's more just frustrating."
As for the second half, Hill has a simple goal.
"Same as always," he said. "Expect nothing but the best. I'll keep striving for it."
Roster moves keep extra arms around
BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays made a pair of roster decisions Saturday in an effort to continue to ease the innings load of its rotation.
Toronto activated outfielder Travis Snider from the 15-day disabled list and promptly optioned him to Double-A Hampshire, and then the club designated infielder Nick Green for assignment following a 3-2 win over the Orioles. The moves left the Jays short-handed on the bench, but that is by design.
"We're going to play a little bit short for a while," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
Green was removed from the roster in order to create a spot for right-hander Shaun Marcum, who is scheduled to be activated from the 15-day disabled list for a start in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. That will give the Blue Jays 13 pitchers and only 12 position players for the time being.
Right-hander Brandon Morrow, who logged seven innings in Saturday's win, will be skipped in the rotation and make his next start July 26 at home after a period of eight days of rest. Morrow has thrown 107 innings this season after logging 124 2/3 a year ago between stints with the Mariners and Triple-A Tacoma.
Having Morrow skip one start could help the Jays avoid needing to shut the righty down later in the season. While Morrow is temporarily out, left-hander Marc Rzepczynski will start on the road against Detroit on Wednesday. Morrow was fine with the Blue Jays' decision.
"I understand," Morrow said. "They told me at the beginning of the season that there would be inning limitations along the way. I'm just glad they're not going to DL me and then I'd have to sit out two weeks. It's better to do it this way."
Gaston said that the team may use a similar approach with other members of the rotation leading up to September, when Toronto might begin using a six-man rotation. The Jays will likely stick with 13 pitchers for the next 10-12 days, at which point Snider would be eligible to be promoted from the Minors.
"That's what we had to do," said Gaston, referring to keeping Snider at Double-A, where he had been on a rehab assignment. "If we don't option him out, then we can't do what we're doing here with [Rzepczynski]. One of those guys [Jesse Litsch or Rzepczynski] would've had to go.
"And a lot of people are telling me [Snider] needs to stay and hit a little bit more."
Romero returns to basics in victory
BALTIMORE -- Ricky Romero got away from one of his strengths in the two starts prior to Friday's gem against the Orioles. The Blue Jays lefty admittedly was trying to overpower hitters, instead of trying to induce weak contact.
In his win over Baltimore, Romero focused more on doing what he does best: getting quick outs. The result was a seven-inning performance during which he yielded just two unearned runs, struck out five and created 12 ground-ball outs.
"We went back to basics," Romero said. "I was trying to throw those pitches in for strikes and trying to make them hit it and not trying to get swings-and-misses. It was just, 'Here you go. Hit it.' That was the difference."
In his previous two outings, Romero allowed a combined 17 runs (13 earned) on 12 hits with five strikeouts and five walks over just five innings -- starts against the Red Sox and Yankees. One pitch that Romero struggled with in those outings was his changeup.
"I thought he got his changeup over a little bit better later [in his start Friday]," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "The first part of the game, I thought he was bouncing them a little bit. I actually said something to [pitching coach Bruce Walton] about it, 'You need to work on that a little bit.' Later on, he did get it over. He got it over when he really needed to get it over."
Molina gets kick out of brother's cycle
BALTIMORE -- Blue Jays catcher Jose Molina smiled. No one could have predicted that his brother, Bengie -- a Rangers catcher with a large frame and reputation of being one of the slowest runners in baseball -- could hit for the cycle.
That is exactly what Bengie Molina did for Texas on Friday night in Boston, and it was why a grin crept across Jose Molina's face Saturday in Baltimore. In baseball, anything is possible.
"Everybody in the world is capable of anything," Jose Molina said. "It's amazing. I wish I had one."
Bengie Molina became the first catcher to accomplish the feat since Chad Moeller hit for the cycle for the Brewers on April 27, 2004, against the Reds. Molina also became just the eighth player since 1900 to belt a grand slam as part of a cycle.
That aspect was more impressive to Jose Molina than the triple, especially given the circumstances. Bengie Molina's grand slam highlighted a five-run fifth inning that gave the Rangers a 7-3 lead.
"I know my brother," Jose Molina said. "He's not looking for any personal things, so the grand slam probably meant more to him."
It was Bengie Molina's triple that forced a chuckle from Jays manager Cito Gaston.
"I would've loved to have seen that triple," Gaston said with a laugh. "What are the odds of him doing that? You could've made tons of money if you ever bet on that. Good for him. That's great."
Entering Saturday, the Blue Jays' bullpen had gone 5-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 24 games dating back to June 16. Toronto's overall record was 10-14 during that same span. Over the past 20 games, the Jays' relievers had combined for a 2.36 ERA and a .209 opponents' batting average. ... Dating back to Sept. 1, 2009, Jays right fielder Jose Bautista leads the Majors with 34 home runs. ... Toronto first baseman Lyle Overbay carried an eight-game hitting streak into Saturday's game against the Orioles. Overbay was hitting .393 (11-for-28) with three home runs, three doubles and six runs scored over that period. ... Entering Saturday, the Jays had clubbed at least one homer in nine consecutive games. On July 11, Toronto had a streak of seven multihomer games in a row, marking the second longest streak of its kind 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.