McCoy making strong bid for roster spot
Former Rockie has impressed with his versatility, offense
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Mike McCoy is hoping a minor injury, one he is a little embarrassed about, will not hurt his chances of making the Blue Jays' Opening Day roster. Not much has slowed McCoy down this spring -- except for his 2-year-old twin boys.
"I'm a little dinged up right now," said McCoy, motioning to his right shoulder. "It's just a stupid injury. I was holding one of my kids and I tweaked my shoulder. But I'm feeling good now."
That is good news for Toronto, because McCoy has made quite the impression this spring with his versatility on defense and his abilities on offense. McCoy has not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since Saturday, but the utility man is hoping to return to the lineup in the next few days to continue his run at a roster spot.
The Blue Jays claimed the 28-year-old McCoy off waivers from the Rockies in November, and he was excited about the opportunity he had with Toronto. With his speed and ability to man three infield positions and all three outfield spots, McCoy knew this spring gave him a great chance to possibly open the year in the big leagues.
"I was excited, man," McCoy said. "You always want to be wanted, so if they picked me up on waivers, that means they were interested in me. The Rockies have a lot of talent -- good, young talent -- so it might have been tougher for me. I think the opportunity here is a little better for me, probably.
"I've got to show them. They've never seen me play really, except for maybe a couple guys and some scouts, so I have a chance to show them what I can do this spring and see what happens."
Over eight games this spring, McCoy has hit at a .615 clip, with eight hits in 13 at-bats. He has more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) and has scored five runs for the Blue Jays. Along the way, he has posted a .688 on-base percentage. Spring statistics do not always mean much, especially when the sample size is small, but McCoy has definitely opened some eyes.
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"He's played great," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "We were excited about him when we claimed him, but I don't think anyone expected him to swing the bat the way he's done. ... He [can] play all over the place. That's a valuable guy to have, that he can play both the infield and the outfield.
"I would say McCoy, probably more than anybody else, has stood out, because of his ability to play both spots and his ability to swing the bat."
Last year, McCoy appeared in 12 games for Colorado, finishing with no hits in just five at-bats. He spent most of the 2009 campaign with Triple-A Colorado Springs, hitting . 307 with two home runs, 27 doubles, 40 stolen bases, 52 RBIs and a .405 on-base percentage across 132 games. Over the offseason, McCoy hit .304 with a .413 OBP in 59 games with Tomateros de Culiacan in Mexico.
McCoy's main competition for a spot on the Jays' bench appears to be outfielders Jeremy Reed and Joey Gathright, who are both in camp on Minor League deals. McCoy appears to have an edge due to his ability to man multiple infield and outfield positions, and, like Gathright, he could bring an element of speed to the Blue Jays.
Entering the spring, the Jays told McCoy he had a great opportunity to win a job this spring.
"They said there was a chance that I could possibly make the team if I play well," McCoy said. "Nothing was certain, obviously, so I'm just trying to play hard and play well and show them my ability to play different positions and maybe steal some bases, run a little bit, and play good defense."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.