Notes: No DL stint for Hill
Second baseman's left knee improved over All-Star break
BOSTON -- In the cramped visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park, Aaron Hill could barely take a step without absorbing some sarcasm from his entertained teammates. Published reports had the Blue Jays' second baseman heading to the disabled list, and his teammates had some fun with the false information.
"How can you go hit in the cage when you're on the DL?" cracked Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus, sitting on a couch while Hill grabbed his bat.
Hill, shaking his head and laughing at the comments, was quick to point out that his left knee was fine. Yes, it had been sore enough to warrant a day of rest on Sunday in Toronto. No, the injury didn't worsen to the point that he'd need to become the 13th Blue Jay this year to land on the DL.
"It's fine," said Hill, still laughing. "It's a big joke now."
"You're not even talking to him," Glaus said to the reporters. "He's dead. He's not even here."
It was reported that Hill wasn't going to be in Boston and that Toronto planned on recalling second baseman Russ Adams from Triple-A Syracuse. Instead, Adams remained in the Minors and Hill was still in the Jays' lineup on Thursday, batting seventh and playing second in the opener of a four-game set against the Red Sox.
On Monday, Hill traveled to Florida and met with Dr. Steve Mirabello, who examined the second baseman's left knee and informed the Blue Jays that a DL stint might be needed. After a full day of treatment, though, Hill's condition continued to improve on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"The initial report was that he was probably going to have to take some more time off and probably be a DL candidate," Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "Then, on Wednesday, he felt even better. So we dodged a bullet. We really thought he'd probably end up on the DL."
On Thursday, Hill was surprised to hear that there were reports still saying a trip to the DL was imminent. So he headed to Fenway Park to check the lineup card.
"I don't even know how it started, and next thing I know, I'm on the DL," Hill said. "So to make sure I wasn't, I come here and say, 'What's going on?' They said everything got blown out of proportion. Whoever started it or whatever happened, I don't know. I wasn't a part of it."
"There's a new rule they passed," Jays manager John Gibbons said with a pause. "The three-day DL."
Burnett watch: On Thursday, Blue Jays right-hander A.J. Burnett played catch for the first time since landing back on the 15-day DL on July 1 with a shoulder issue. Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said the pitcher made 25 throws on flat ground.
"I talked to [Burnett] and he said he felt good," said Ricciardi, who hopes to have Burnett back by the end of the month. "Arnie said he threw well and he felt good. I'll see, maybe we can super-speed this up a little bit. We'll see. He felt really good, which is encouraging."
Overbay returns: As expected, Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay was activated from the 15-day DL prior to Thursday's game against Boston. Overbay, who broke his right hand by a pitch on June 3, hit .267 with a grand slam and five RBIs in four Minor League rehab games at Double-A New Hampshire.
"It's like Opening Day again. It's been a long time," Overbay said. "It's been one of those things where you kind of look at it and you're kind of like, 'OK, I can get back by this date.' Then, maybe it's not realistic. This was the most realistic day. I was looking forward to this day."
Impressed: Gibbons had fun watching Jays right fielder Alex Rios put on a show during Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby in San Francisco. Rios belted 19 homers in the competition, but he eventually lost in the championship round to Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero.
"He represented us well -- that's for sure," Gibbons said. "That will probably help put him on the map a little better. Good baseball people out there know who he is -- you can't hide that. This will definitely help him get a little more publicity."
Whoops: Rios also caught the final out of the All-Star Game on Tuesday, when Philadelphia's Aaron Rowand popped out to right field to help the American League escape with a 5-4 victory. Rios might've kept the ball had it not been for a brief mental lapse.
"I wasn't thinking," Rios said with a laugh. "I was running in and I threw it in the stands."
Other matters: Ricciardi indicated that left-hander Gustavo Chacin threw in a bullpen session on Wednesday and felt fine. Chacin has been out with a shoulder injury since April 28 and the Jays believe he could return by late July or early August. ... Ricciardi also said that right-hander Brandon League, who is on the DL with a shoulder injury and rehabbing at Triple-A Syracuse, could be back in Toronto's bullpen before the end of the month. ... Despite rumors that he might switch to second base, Toronto plans on keeping catching prospect Curtis Thigpen, who was optioned back to Triple-A on Sunday, behind the plate for the time being. "We wanted to get him down there catching again and get him in the routine of getting back there calling a game," said Ricciardi. "He did a good job or us."
Quotable: "I broke my left elbow, too. Let's start more stuff." -- Hill, joking about his injury rumors
Coming up: Right-hander Shaun Marcum (4-3, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound when the Blue Jays face the Red Sox at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday at Fenway Park. Boston will counter with righty Julian Tavarez (5-7, 4.97 ERA).
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.