Blue Jays add Thames, demote McCoy

Eric Thames was recalled by the Blue Jays on Thursday. (MARK BLINCH/Reuters)

Eric Thames was recalled by the Blue Jays on Thursday. (MARK BLINCH/Reuters)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:11 PM ET

ST. LOUIS - Where or where to look for a spark?

Not at third base.

Not in the clubhouse or even under a dugout bench?

What about right field?

BINGO!

The Blue Jays will return Jose Bautista to third base, although not on Friday in St. Louis for the opener against the Cardinals.

The Jays also made a roster move Thursday, recalling outfielder Eric Thames from triple-A Las Vegas.

"It won't happen Friday, but we spoke to Jose (Thursday) and the best configuration is for Bautista to go back to third," general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters on a conference call Thursday night.

"Jose will begin taking ground balls in St. Louis and when he's comfortable he'll move back to third. I always know what to expect from Jose. We talked to him and he said: 'Whatever makes the team better.' He'd stand on his head if he thought it would help the team. It will probably take a few days, It should be like riding a bike." After the Blue Jays lost Wednesday, manager John Farrell said: "We need a spark," and also said off days after a series were a time he and GM Anthopoulous review things.

This is a major review.

They will give Thames some wooden match sticks, some gasoline and have told him to get busy, whether he's in left, right or at DH when the Jays go back to American League rules Monday night in Detroit.

When Bautista, who spent all of spring training at third, is comfortable, he'll move back to third.

"Jose's only concern was that he would did not want to play two games at third, two games in right," Anthopoulos said.

At third base Jayson Nix, John McDonald, Edwin Encarnacion and Mike McCoy are 1-for-20 this trip.

This tour of the National League Central has been rougher than playing the Yankees and Red Sox back-to-back.

Ten runs in six games and if you go back to the Rogers Centre against the Baltimore Orioles, 31 in 13.

Another factor into the stopgap decision the Jays had at third since Brett Lawrie was injured three weeks ago, is that Lawrie is taking "longer to heal than we thought," according to Anthopoulos.

"He's still having a hard time gripping the bat, we're probably looking at August, it could be sooner," Anthopoulos said. "We envision him as the long-term guy at third." Anthopoulos said the organizational depth was in the outfield with Loewen, Thames and Travis Snider (before he was suffered a concussion), not at third base.

When Jose Molina is your best hitter six games in, it's a wonder the Jays have two victories and stand 2-4.

After winning 3-2 and 4-0 in Cincinnati against the Reds, the Jays offence has gone:

One run, zero runs, one run and one.

Or in other words:

Cough, gasp, cough, cough.

Is that grandpa's Edsel warming up in the garage or the Jays offence?

Flatter than the Mississippi River, the Jays offence has managed three runs in its previous four games, a loss in the finale to the Reds and then victims of a three-game sweep by the Braves in Atlanta.

And now the Jays reach the toughest leg ... Busch Stadium where a sea of fans in Cardinal red awaits, not to mention right-hander Jake Westbrook, who starts Friday night, lefty Jamie Garcia, Saturday night's starter, and right-hander Kyle McClellan, who pitches Sunday.

Westbrook, Garcia and McClellan have each won six games this season.

The trip ends Monday in Detroit against the Tigers with a makeup game from an earlier rainout.

Infielder Mike McCoy was demoted ... as always.

This is Thames' second stint with the Jays. He was recalled in May when Lind was placed on the disabled list with a bad back, appearing in 13 games hitting .286 with two doubles, a triple and four RBIs.

At Las Vegas this season, he was hitting .352 with 25 doubles, four triples, seven homers and 45 RBIs. This month he was batting .375 with eight doubles, two triples, one home run and 15 RBIs in 17 games.

What's most alarming are the strikeouts.

The Blue Jays have had 60 in their previous six games, compared to managing 30 hits.

bob.elliott@sunmedia.ca


Photos