Notes: Wells adjusting to leadoff spot
Jays slugger bats first again on Saturday
TORONTO -- Lyle Overbay has had plenty of free time lately. Ever since landing on the disabled list with a broken hand earlier this month, Toronto's first baseman has been searching for ways to occupy himself.
Overbay has spent some of that down time studying video, but not just of his own at-bats. On Thursday, the first baseman broke down some footage of struggling center fielder Vernon Wells. Overbay noticed a slight difference between Wells' stance this season compared to a year ago, and he passed the information along.
"He said he has so much time on his hands that he was sitting around looking at video," Wells said on Saturday. "That's the good thing, everybody cares. I have everybody coming up to me, telling me different things and what they see."
What Overbay saw was that Wells wasn't using the same open stance that the center fielder utilized during his impressive campaign last year, when he hit .303 with 32 home runs and 106 RBIs. Instead, Wells' setup this year had his front foot closer to the plate, and he's had issues recognizing certain pitches as a result.
On Friday, when Wells hit leadoff for the first time since 2002, he decided to put Overbay's observation to the test by reverting back to a more open stance. Wells, who entered Saturday with a .248 average, finished the game 2-for-4 with a home run, a single, a walk and three runs scored.
"It allowed me to kind of see the ball just that split-second longer," said Wells, who batted first again on Saturday. "I was laying off sliders that I was swinging at the day before, just because I may not have been picking it up as quickly as I needed to.
"It's an adjustment -- one of a million adjustments I've been trying to make this year. It's a work in progress, still. Hopefully, that will be the adjustment that can keep me consistent for the rest of the year."
Another change that Wells implemented this homestand was with his choice of lumber. During the offseason, the center fielder began using a bat that was 34 inches in length and weighed 33 ounces. Now, Wells has moved back to the 32-ounce bat he was using last season.
"I guess I wasn't strong enough to swing that bat," Wells said with a laugh.
Mr. 1,000: It wasn't a "glamorous" hit, as Wells joked on Saturday, but the infield single he collected against Colorado in the seventh inning the night before represented the center fielder's 1,000th career hit with the Jays.
Wells reached the plateau in 890 games, which made him the third-fastest to accomplish the feat in Toronto history. He currently ranks eighth on the Blue Jays all-time list, and entered Saturday's game 28 hits shy of tying Damaso Garcia for seventh place.
"Obviously, you want to get to the magical number of 3,000," Wells said. "It's amazing how much time you have to put in. It took me six years to get to 1,000. I don't know if my body will last 18 years. It'll be cool if it does."
Getting closer: Jays designated hitter Frank Thomas homered against Rockies starter Aaron Cook in the first inning on Saturday, giving the slugger 498 career blasts. Thomas is now just two homers shy of becoming the 21st player to reach 500 home runs in a career. The 39-year-old veteran has homered in three of his past six games for the Jays.
Going yard: In the third inning on Friday, Toronto's Adam Lind sent a 2-0 pitch deep to right for a solo home run -- the left fielder's eighth blast of the season. His eight homers are the most by a Blue Jays rookie since Russ Adams tallied eight long balls for Toronto in 2005.
Did you know? Relievers Brian Tallet and Jason Frasor combined to strike out six consecutive Rockies between the sixth and seventh innings on Friday night. It marked the first time in club history that the Jays fanned six straight hitters over two innings.
Quotable: "It could possibly be just putting too much pressure on myself. When you have a slow start, you want to try to get everything back at once, and it just doesn't happen that way." --Wells, on his struggles
Coming up: Toronto right-hander Dustin McGowan (3-3, 5.68 ERA) is slated to take the mound when the Blue Jays host the Rockies at 1:07 p.m. ET on Sunday at Rogers Centre. Colorado will counter with righty Josh Fogg (3-5, 4.58 ERA).
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.