Rough start for Rasmus

Blue Jays newly acquired outfielder Colby Rasmus looks on prior to his debut with the team against...

Blue Jays newly acquired outfielder Colby Rasmus looks on prior to his debut with the team against the Orioles in Toronto, Ont., July 28, 2011. (MARK BLINCH/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 PM ET

TORONTO - It was a rough start for Colby Rasmus in his first game as a Toronto Blue Jay both on the field and at the podium.

While there were plenty of highlights for the Jays in their 8-5 romp over the Baltimore Orioles Thursday at the Rogers Centre back-to-back homers from Edwin Encarnacion and Eric Thames as well as Travis Snider doing his running with the bulls impersonation in his charge towards the plate, all in the third Rasmus wasnt involved in any of them.

He was a steady presence in centre field, which is something you couldnt say in the previous 104 games the Jays had played. At the plate he appeared a bit anxious, going 0-for-5 as he popped up on the first pitch in the first inning, flied out on the second pitch in the second while in the fourth he worked the count full before grounding out to short. His final two at-bats produced a couple of strikeouts.

A tad nervous in the batter's box and in his press scrum no doubt. In the latter, he seemed to be guarded and didnt exactly light up the room with his personality.

But being 24 and just being traded and all, well cut him plenty of slack to see if he can live up to the billing that Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos layered on pretty thick after he acquired him on Wednesday.

Im definitely excited by it and Im glad to be here, Rasmus said of being dealt from the St. Louis Cardinals where he may have had as many run-ins with manager Tony La Russa as he had hits. Im looking at it as a fresh start, coming here, trying to have fun with the guys and play baseball.

Rasmus may have arrived in the big leagues with a lot of hype and praise after being a first-round pick. Now he comes to the Jays advertised as a big missing piece of the puzzle. However, hed prefer to fly under the radar.

Yeah, Id like to, he said. But its all right, you know. I feel like I can handle it. Ive got an idea of what Im going to try to do as far as playing-wise you know dealing with some of the stuff. Just go out there and play the game and have fun. But I am kind of quiet. I dont really prefer the limelight. But like I said its part of the job so Im going to do my best to handle it and play baseball.

St. Louis is a baseball-mad city which brings an added level of either enjoyment or pressure, depending on how you look at it. It doesnt make it any easier to perform if you happen to be the managers favourite whipping boy.

Rasmus, though, wouldnt go down that particular road.

I wouldnt say anybody targeted me, he said. I was given a good opportunity there and theres really nothing to it. I played the best I could and it just turned out the way it is. I feel, like I said earlier, I feel like this a fresh start new guys in the clubhouse, new atmosphere.

I was a first-round pick for the Cardinals and coming up through the minor leagues and all the stuff that came along with that at times, it might have wore on me a little bit. The pressure, I can say it wasnt easy to deal with sometimes. But its part of it so Im just going to go out there and play and try to relax.

One big difference in Toronto as opposed to St. Louis is that the Jays will try to accommodate the advice that Tony Rasmus, Colby's father, gives his son. In St. Louis, it was not welcomed and was like picking at a scab.

The Jays dont want a repeat here.

I think at some point it will be important for us to have a conversation with Colbys dad, Jays manager John Farrell said prior to the game. The one thing we do know is that Colbys dad has had a lot of experience with him, he knows his swing, Colby spoke openly about that and we want to do right by Colby. I think the most important thing for us is to deliver a message that is consistent to the one that he has been accustomed to and the one that has shown to be productive in the past.

Were all about making the player the most productive we can.

Even if that means allowing his dad to poke his head into the conversation.

Its not to say were going to give him a uniform and have him sit in the dugout, Farrell said. I just think its a smart thing to do with someone who has been that involved with someone for a long period of time, to pick his brain.

The most important thing is that there is a consistent message. Players get lost in the mix a little bit when you have a different message being delivered by multiple people. Ultimately the player is first and foremost in any of this and what we can do to put him in the best position to succeed, thats our responsibility.

Its part of the plan to give Rasmus every chance to succeed.

Youre not looking to build walls, youre always looking to build bridges to make sure you get the most out of a given player, Farrell added.

A missing piece or just a puzzle, time will tell.


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