Jays' Wallace Adjusts To New Team, Position





TORONTO — Brett Wallace was off to a strong start with his new organization, taking the early lead in home runs in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

The lefthanded-hitting Wallace was batting .313/.378/.633 with 10 home runs for Las Vegas and making a smooth transition from third base to first base.

Wallace said that during spring training, Lyle Overbay, the regular first baseman in Toronto, was a big help to him in learning the position.

Wallace is one of the three prospects the Blue Jays ended up with after they traded Roy Halladay to the Phillies in December. They received righthander Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis d'Arnaud and outfielder Michael Taylor from the Phillies. They sent Taylor to the Athletics for Wallace.

It was the second time Wallace was traded in less than a year. The Cardinals traded him to the A's last July when they acquired outfielder Matt Holliday.

Now Wallace has ended up with a team that is in a rebuilding mode, and he should be a significant part of that future.

"It's a fun time to be around that when the organization is pushing to get back to the glory days," Wallace said.

The Blue Jays had been interested in Wallace for several years. They took him in the 42nd round of the 2005 draft out of Justin-Siena High in Sonoma, Calif., but he opted to attend Arizona State.

"I wanted to play at ASU since I was a little kid," he said. "Obviously being a professional baseball player was my goal, but I felt like going to ASU was a great option."

This is his second full pro season, and he batted .293/.367/.455 last season at three stops in Double-A and Triple-A. So far he has had little difficulty hitting lefthanded pitching, and he was hitting .393 against them this year.

"It's one of those things, I feel if you can hit you can hit," he said. "Against lefties I don't really have a different approach, I just go up there and hit. I don't feel uncomfortable at all. See it and hit, stay back trust my ability."

JAYS CHATTER

• Righthander Merkin Valdez cleared waivers and was assigned to Las Vegas. Righthander B.J. LaMura moved down to high Class A Dunedin to make room.

• Lefthander Brett Cecil was called up from Las Vegas, where he was 2-0, 2.45 with his improved changeup. In his third start with Toronto he gave up one hit and one run in eight innings in Cleveland to move to 2-1, 2.61.