Jays watch: 'Dribblers' did job vs. Price

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:15 PM ET

Left-handed hitter Eric Thames on facing 6-foot-6 pitcher David Price, also a left-hander, on Friday: "He throws the ball down and in, you see it, but you can't get the bat head out. He works inside so well, all we hit were those little dribblers."

Fortunately for the Blue Jays, those dribblers did the job on Friday.

In the third inning, two batters after Price bounced David Cooper's grounder on a throw to second, Price fielded a Thames roller and fired to the backstop, opening the door for three unearned runs.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Since manager John Farrell took over 11 months ago, how many positions has he seen the Jays improve?

Farrell listed first base, with Adam Lind's ability to play defence; third base, with Brett Lawrie; and behind the plate, with J.P. Arencibia.

Farrell also listed Yunel Escobar's ability to adapt to the leadoff spot in the batting order. "He's not the prototypical leadoff hitter (his .369 on-base mark is third, he's 3-for-6 stealing and has 61 walks in 133 games), but he's shown an ability to get on," Farrell told reporters.

So the answer to the question is three spots. The Jays knew Escobar could play shortstop.

AND IN CENTRE

Farrell did not list Colby Rasmus (.185 with 33 strikeouts in 31 games) as one of his core players who was an improvement over a year ago.

"Defensively he's fine, but he's not where he wants to be with the bat, he's not where he was when we scouted him and he recognizes that," Farrell said.

"We feel good about our position players, while second base remains an unknown, we're primed and poised to take that next step forward.

MIGHTY MIKE

Mike McCoy made his 17th start at short Saturday in place of the injured Escobar.

"While we welcome what John McDonald brings to a team, Mike McCoy, it can be argued, can also play centre," Farrell said. McDonald, the fan fave, was dealt with Aaron Hill to the Arizona Diamondbacks for second baseman Kelly Johnson.

McCoy has started 14 games in centre, 10 at second and five at third base.

If Escobar is not healthy enough to take batting practice Sunday he won't play the final three games in Chicago.

Farrell said he thought it was important for Escobar to swing the bat "even in batting practice before the season ends."


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