Roenicke relieved to be back in big leagues
Right-hander was frustrated to start season in Minor Leagues
TORONTO -- In light of Monday night's 13-12 loss to the Red Sox, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston decided the bullpen needed some fresh arms.
In came Josh Roenicke and Rommie Lewis, and to Triple-A Las Vegas went Jeremy Accardo, with Merkin Valdez being designated for assignment.
Roenicke, who was traded to Toronto last season in the Scott Rolen deal, said he's relieved to be back with the big league club.
"It feels good to be called up," Roenicke said. "I was a bit frustrated being sent down. We ended up having a good group of guys down there and had some fun and success. As is, it feels great to be back up here."
Roenicke had a spotless ERA in Las Vegas, with eight strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings before getting the call.
"He didn't have a real great spring [statistically], but he threw the ball well," Gaston said as to why he brought Roenicke back up. "He was 95 mph and 96 mph at times. He's got great velocity."
Lewis takes long road to the show
TORONTO -- To say it has been a long road for Blue Jays reliever Rommie Lewis to get to the big leagues would be an understatement.
After spending the better part of the past decade working his way through the Minor League ranks, the 27-year-old southpaw finally got the call on Monday night he was going to the show.
"My dad came up to me last night and said, 'Ever since you were 5 years old, you said you were going to play baseball,'" Lewis said. "All those years [in the Minor Leagues], I now look back on them and they're gone just like that. It's amazing to be here. [It's] a dream come true."
Lewis, who was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft by the Orioles, signed a contract with the Blue Jays on Jan. 27, 2009. He went 4-7 with a 2.86 ERA last year in 45 games split between Double-A and Triple-A. This year, he was 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA in seven relief appearances with Las Vegas.
"Lewis is a kid who pitched outstanding in Spring Training, and he went down to Vegas and did the same thing," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "He's one of those guys that if we could have left camp with him, we would have. He wasn't even on the roster, but he pitched well enough to make this team."
"I didn't have any expectations coming into spring," Lewis said. "All I wanted to do was come in and show them what I could do -- throw strikes and get guys out. I'm elated to be here."
While Lewis was on cloud nine upon his arrival to Toronto, things weren't always so warm and fuzzy.
In 2005, Lewis left the Orioles' High Class-A affiliate, Frederick Keys, to battle some personal demons.
"I just had it," Lewis said. "It wouldn't have benefited me to play that year. I was so down in the dumps and involved with a lot of things I shouldn't have been involved in. It was a grind and wasn't any fun. I just had to walk away."
Lewis ended up returning to baseball in 2006 and said that the year away from the game may have saved his career.
"Baseball has been a blast ever since I've come back," Lewis said. "I think that was the best thing I could have done for myself. [It] really cleared my head and got me back on the right track. I've been happy ever since."
Hill looks to get back in groove
TORONTO -- After missing 14 games with a strained right hamstring, Blue Jays All-Star second baseman Aaron Hill finally returned to the lineup on Friday against the Rays.
Although his impact has not been immediate -- entering Wednesday night's game against the Red Sox he was batting .200 with two RBIs -- Hill insisted that the hamstring was not a problem.
"It's fine -- good enough," Hill said. "Wrap it up and get out there and play the game. I can't worry about hurting it, even if it was nagging."
Since Hill's return, the Blue Jays have lost five consecutive games.
While Hill was concerned with his team's recent struggles, he has felt no added pressure to produce.
"I can't beg for hits," Hill said. "They'll just come. It's been 20 at-bats. I'm not too worried about it."
Since April 28, 2009, Hill is batting .371 with five home runs and 20 RBIs.
Left-handed-hitting Adam Lind was given his first day off since the start of the season, as the Blue Jays went up against Red Sox southpaw Jon Lester on Wednesday night. Also receiving the night off were left-handed-hitting outfielders Travis Snider and newly anointed leadoff man Fred Lewis. ... Outfielder Vernon Wells is only three home runs shy of passing George Bell for third on Toronto's all-time home run list, and one RBI shy of passing Bell for second on the all-time RBI list.
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.