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7/3 Game Thread: Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics

Tuesday, July 3 - Oakland, California
Game time temperature: 67 F (20 C)
10:05 PM (EDT)

Toronto Blue Jays
Vernon Wells cf
Greg Zaun c
Alexis Rios rf
Troy Glaus 3b
Frank Thomas dh
Matt Stairs 1b
Aaron Hill 2b
Adam Lind lf
John McDonald ss

Pitching: Jesse Litsch, RHP

Oakland Athletics

Shannon Stewart lf
Mark Kotsay cf
Nick Swisher rf
Jack Cust dh
Eric Chavez 3b
Dan Johnson 1b
Mark Ellis 2b
Bobby Crosby ss
Jason Kendall c

Pitching: Joe Blanton, RHP

Having stopped the losing streak last night, the Jays seek to begin building a pre-All Star Break winning streak tonight. They do so behind young Jesse Litsch, who was called up to replace Roy Halladay earlier in the season and now has been called to take AJ Burnett's place while Burnett recuperates from a shoulder strain.

Blair suggests that Burnett may be on his way out of a Blue Jays uniform in today's Globe and Mail. I have no reason to doubt Blair as he normally has the scoop of what the Jays front office is thinking, but I have a tough time figuring out how Burnett will be dealt, since he likely won't be back until right before the trading deadline, which would seemingly undercut his value (although it is not unheard of for an injured hurler to be traded at the deadline, it is unusual and should be particularly so with a nagging shoulder injury). I wonder if the opt-out clause (Burnett can get out of his deal after '08, leaving $24 Million on the table) makes him more tradeable, if he can show he's healthy by the deadline. Either way though, I just can't see it happening, although if Blair is saying that the Jays FO would like to trade A.J., I assume that is the case. Blair always seems to be tapped into Ricciardi's thinking.

Anyway, in other news, Reed Johnson's rehab is progressing nicely and will continue at AAA Syracuse. Lyle Overbay has been fielding and hitting, and Gustavo Chacin had his first bullpen session since being DLed in early May. All three could be back not too long after the All-Star Break.

Wells continues to bat leadoff tonight, while Zaun is back in the 2-spot and Rios slides down. Clayton is riding the pine again and Stairs starts at 1st against the portly northpaw, "Cupcakes" Blanton. Athletics Nation is a great SB Nation site for those interested in venturing behind enemy lines. Watch out for elephant dung!