TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' pitching rotation has been a bit of a mess lately.
With J.A. Happ and Josh Johnson injured and Ricky Romero unable to find the strike zone consistently, Toronto has turned to veteran Ramon Ortiz and youngster Chad Jenkins to take the reins temporarily.
"The guy that's pitching the best deserves to pitch," manager John Gibbons said.
Both pitchers were formidable last time out, enough so to keep them with the team at least until May 21. Ortiz managed to keep the Red Sox to only one earned run Friday, while Jenkins held Boston to two earned runs two days later.
Jenkins was particularly impressive for general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who said that Jenkins' outing Sunday was the best that he's ever seen him.
"Right now we need both of them," Gibbons said. "We're going to need two guys for next Monday and Tuesday, but then we'll see how everything plays out after that."
Toronto's manager has been happy with what he's seen from Wednesday's starter so far in his two outings with the club.
"One thing about Ortiz is he competes; he's been around. He knows what this level of baseball is all about," Gibbons said. "He relies on hitting his spots and getting a lot of ground balls like he did the other day. If he does that, he should be effective."
With it being over a week before Jenkins is next scheduled to start, either Monday or Tuesday at home vs. the Rays, he was available to pitch out of the bullpen Wednesday and possibly Friday and Saturday depending on how things go.
Melky keeps playing after MRI confirms injury
TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons wasted no time in putting Melky Cabrera back in the lineup for Wednesday's game despite some lingering leg soreness.
Cabrera underwent an MRI prior to the club's game against the Giants, but before even knowing the results of the test, the 28-year-old outfielder was penciled atop the Toronto lineup for the fourth straight game.
It should come as no surprise that the former Giant was going to play through the injury, as it's something he's been dealing with since Spring Training.
"I'm going to play. I want to play. ... I want to be on the field," said Cabrera through translator Luis Rivera following his 4-for-5 night against his former team Tuesday.
"I just want to contribute."
Since moving into the leadoff spot, Cabrera has gone 6-for-13 with two extra-base hits, four RBIs and three runs scored. Slotting Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion below him to round out the top third of the order has led the Blue Jays to three straight victories since the move was implemented Saturday vs. the Red Sox.
When news finally came in around three hours before game time Wednesday, the official MRI results showed that Cabrera had irritation in his right quadriceps and left hamstring.
The injury was more confirmation than anything for the Blue Jays as Cabrera will continue to play through the injury.
One thing that Gibbons plans on doing to continue to find rest for Cabrera's lingering soreness is to DH him against left-handers and have Emilio Bonifacio play in left field, something that Toronto employed in its 10-6 victory against Giants starter Barry Zito.
Blue Jays going with 'just win' philosophy
TORONTO -- Despite winning six of their last nine games entering Wednesday, the Blue Jays still found themselves 9 1/2 games back of the American League East-leading Yankees and sat eight games below .500.
As much as it's a cliche, the Blue Jays are just taking things one game at a time to try to make up ground on the hole that they've dug themselves into early.
"We've tried to take the mentality of 'just win today,' don't try and get eight wins back in one night," said ace R.A. Dickey after holding the Giants to only two earned runs and striking out 10 on Tuesday night. "That's what we're going to try and stick to."
"I think every team looks at it that way," manager John Gibbons said. "You play to win today. Yesterday's gone, tomorrow's not here yet. Win today."
Although the club hasn't seen itself gain any ground on the division leader, the overall quality of baseball has seen a dramatic improvement in the last week and a half.
A big part of that turnaround had been the team's offense. After managing only three runs in four games to start off May, the Blue Jays have scored 57 runs in the team's last nine games, good for 6.33 runs per game.
Leading the way has been the trio of Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion atop the Toronto lineup.
The three have combined to go 17-for-35 in the team's last three games with two home runs and 11 RBIs.
Bautista has reached base in 19 of his last 20 games and has an on-base percentage of .425 and a 1.022 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) since April 23.
"We've been playing better baseball," Dickey said after Tuesday's 10-6 victory. "Outside of a couple of plays tonight, I thought we were a pretty good baseball team tonight. We pitched well, we played pretty good defense, we hit with runners in scoring position, we got a lot of big two-out hits. We did a lot of good things.
"That's something we've seen a lot more of the last week and a half. I certainly think it can be a jumping off point for us."
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.