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Blue jays' martin weighs in on offensive surge

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“I feel that shortening the bat a little bit, just that half an ounce, is just enough to have a bit better bat control; just a bit lighter enough to get the bat head through the zone quicker. It gives you that little bit more time and that’s the difference between, say, a checked swing (going) through on, or just holding up. It’s helped me a lot.”

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SAUNDERS WATCH: Michael Saunders woke up Wednesday morning feeling not half bad. Which is entirely good for the Jays.

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Not so good that the left fielder was able to start Wednesday night’s interleague engagement here with the Phillies with NL rules — he was announced as a pinch hitter late, but never batted. Ezequiel Carrera, fresh off subbing in nice fashion for Jose Bautista in right for a three-pack, was patrolling left for Saunders and batting leadoff in the reconfigured batting order.

Saunders was a spectator after doing some light pre-game workout: “I woke up this morning, felt better already. It’s just going to be a day-to-day thing.”

The thing referred to is Saunders’ right hamstring, in which he experienced tightness in Tuesday’s win over these self-same Phillies back at the Rogers Centre, removed for precautionary reasons after his at-bat in the third, gone by the time the Jays hit around in that inning.

Although there might have been lingering concerns about Saunders’ physical sturdiness after meniscus surgery last season limited him to just nine games, the B.C. native has actually proven himself quite durable, appearing in 58 of Toronto’s 67 games thus far this year.

“We’re just doing work and trying to progress through it,” said Saunders of the hammy soreness, which may have resulted from compensating for a swollen ankle, suffered the previous day when he took a foul ball off his lower leg.

“Continuing to get better,” Saunders assured. Wouldn’t speculate when he’d return to active duty, however.

REHAB UPDATES: Troy Tulowitzki, who had a bit of a setback last week in regaining game form from his quad injury, stood in for four at-bats Wednesday at extended spring training in Florida. No issues ensued.

“If he feels good tomorrow, he may end up at Dunedin (Thursday night) to play a game there,” said John Gibbons. “Depends on how he responds.”

That would be an actual rehab assignment.

Meanwhile, Brett Cecil threw off the mound for the first time. Ditto, no issues.

LEFTY LOOP: With struggling Aaron Loup optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, Toronto called up Chad Girodo. So now Girodo’s the only left-handed reliever in the Jays’ pen. Scott Diamond was designated for assignment, with the Jays fairly confident the Guelph-born reliever won’t be claimed off waivers. In 10 days, they can option him to Buffalo.

Girodo appeared in 11 games for Toronto earlier this season, allowing four runs over 8 1/3 innings.

Utility player Andy Burns was brought up from the Bisons as well and appeared as a pinch hitter.

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