There’s only one way to bring the fractious Blue Jays clubhouse together. That said, Pat Borders is retired and his award-winning cupcakes aren’t on the menu. From the AP’s Rob Gillies :

A day after Shea Hillenbrand called Toronto’s second-string catcher the “self-described team leader” during a radio interview, Greg Zaun fired back.

“You want to drag me into it? Not a very wise thing to do,” Zaun (above) said Friday.

Hillenbrand was designated for assignment during Wednesday’s game after writing “play for yourself” on a board the Blue Jays use to post batting practice times. He later wrote the “ship was sinking” before manager John Gibbons challenged him to a fight during a team meeting.

“In our players meeting I did tell the entire group ‘Do not let your personality be dictated by whether or not your in the lineup every day,”‘ Zaun said.

Zaun said he confronted Hillenbrand about writing “play for yourself” and later erased the message.

“I didn’t think it was productive. We have young impressionable minds on this ballclub. They look to veterans for leadership and example and I confronted him,” Zaun said.

Zaun denied telling Gibbons about the message.

“I’m not a tattle tale. I’m not a rat,” he said.

Zaun said he pleaded with Hillenbrand this season to accept his role.

“I asked him ‘Please for the good of the team put your feelings aside and embrace this situation and understand that we need you on the field. You’re a great hitter, you’re going to get your reps at third, you’re going to get your reps at first,”‘ Zaun said.

“Maybe he’s afraid that he’s going to be pigeonholed as a guy that can only hit. It’s just not true. What difference does it make that it’s going to be one year or not. He’s going to be a free agent at the end of the year. If he decides he doesn’t ever want to DH again. You know what, limit your choices to the National League teams.”

The Jays are leading the Yankees, 6-3 in the top of the 8th. A-Rod’s 3 run HR off A.J. Burnett (his 21st of the season) was both his 2000th hit and the 450th HR of his career. There’s no truth to the rumor that Mike Mussina has already put the ball for sale on eBay.

How big a hole did Russ Ortiz dig for the Orioles tonight? Even Jose Lima can’t believe they’re letting him pitch in the big leagues.

John Maine is 3 outs away from his first complete game shutout and first win in a Mets uniform (he won a pair with Baltimore in ’05) ; he’s thrown a mere 88 pitches and allowed just 4 hits through 8 innings, as New York leads Houston, 7-0. Jose Valentin continued his improbable career revival with a 2nd inning grand slam off Taylor Bucholz, while Carlos Delgado hit a 2 run HR in the 5th. Cliff Floyd made a terrific catch in the 4th inning, robbing Chris Burke on a ball that might’ve otherwise cleared the left-field fence. Carlos Beltran had an assist in the bottom of the 8th, throwing out Eric Munson at the plate when the ball took a fortuitous bounce off the pitcher’s mound

UPDATE : 3 up, 3 down for the Astros in the 9th. Willie Randolph’s bullpen gets the night off, luckily, considering Orlando Hernandez will be on the mound tomorrow at 1pm.

A week after visiting a Chicago hospital suffering from food poisoning, Pedro Martinez has reportedly checked himself into a hostpital this evening, with Mets Director Of Cover-Ups Jay Horowitz revealing few details.