More twits than hits for Arencibia
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
|Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, currently in an early-season slump, responded negatively to a U.S. radio critic via Twitter on Wednesday. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters file photo)
TORONTO - Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia dragged an .063 batting average into his team's game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, thanks to a horrid 2-for-32 start to the season.
Although Arencibia says the poor start isn't overly concerning, he didn't react well to a critical radio report that stemmed from south of the border.
On his Twitter account Arencibia volleyed to the critic: "Please have one more donut, looks like u need it! #HowManyChinsYouWorkingWith."
It leads to the perception that Arencibia is a tad too sensitive and paying too much attention to things being said about him.
However, that's not the way his manager views it.
"I don't think so," manager John Farrell said. "Today's player, there's so many social media avenues where they interact with fans directly. You don't want it to get to the point where it becomes a distraction. J.P. is a very approachable guy and he likes to interact with a lot of people whether it's face to face or keyboard to keyboard."
THROWN TO THE WOLVES
It was a rough inning that right-handed reliever Carlos Villanueva endured Wednesday.
Called on to pitch the ninth, Villanueva hit the first Tampa Bay batter and the inning went downhill from there. Before it was over he walked two batters and allowed two hits, the big one a grand slam to Luke Scott. In all, the Rays scored six runs.
However, it was Villanueva's first appearance since April 8, the third game of the season in Cleveland.
"Sometimes the proverbial inning of work can be a tough challenge," Farrell said. "In defence of him, he had sat for eight days but he needed the inning of work.
"Not to make excuses, but that's tough. It comes with the territory in his role (long relief) but it's a tough thing to not get game activity and run into a team that's swinging the bat pretty good."
MORE TO OFFER
Backup catcher Jeff Mathis was acquired by the Jays in the off-season and came to the team with the reputation of being good defensively but was limited with what he could with the bat.
Last season with the L.A. Angels of Anaheim, Mathis hit just .174 (43-for-243). but the Jays believe he's capable of much more.
"In Mathis case, he's made an adjustment with his stance and he's seeing the ball much better," Farrell said. "He's a good athlete. We feel like there's more offensive capability in there and in the early going he's shown some signs of that."
In his three starts, Mathis has gone 4-for-9 (.444) with two doubles, one home run and two RBIs.