08/21/10 12:00 AM ET
Blue Jays get Buck back behind the plate
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
Buck went 4-for-5 with four runs scored in the Jays' 16-2 win over the Red Sox. The four hits tied a career high, while the four runs were a personal best.
Arencibia was sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas following Wednesday's game in Oakland, but it was a move the young catcher knew was coming. The plan all along was for Arencibia to join the Jays when roster expand on Sept. 1, and that will likely remain the case. Buck's right thumb injury forced Arencibia to the Majors sooner than expected.
"We're happy Buck is back," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said prior to Friday's game against the Red Sox. "The kid was up here and we got a look at him. More than likely he'll be back in September and we'll get to see him a little bit more."
Buck -- an American League All-Star this season for the Blue Jays -- was struck on the right thumb by a foul ball off the bat of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez on Aug. 4 in New York. The catcher suffered a deep cut that required three stitches, but he is back at full strength with no issues hitting or throwing.
"I got done what I wanted to do," said Buck, who entered Friday hitting .277 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs in 84 games for the Jays. "Go down there, get in some games, get some at-bats, see some pitches, which I did. Things went well."
In three Minor League rehabilitation games with Double-A New Hampshire, Buck went 3-for-11 with two home runs and six RBIs. While catching, Buck said he tested out a few different ways to position his throwing hand with runners on base. In all likelihood, the catcher will stick with the technique he has always used.
"Since it was a Minor League game, I was toying with things," Buck said. "I'll probably do what I normally do. I mean, how many games do you go [without getting hit by a foul ball], and then it's kind of a fluke thing that happened."
In five games with the Blue Jays, the 24-year-old Arencibia -- a first-round pick by Toronto in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft -- hit .250 with two home runs and four RBIs. In his Major League debut on Aug. 7, he went 4-for-5, becoming the first player in the Modern Era to have two home runs and four hits in a Major League debut.
Encarnacion scratched with sore wrist
BOSTON -- Blue Jays third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was in the starting lineup for Friday's game against the Red Sox. That was until Encarnacion informed manager Cito Gaston that he was fighting a sore left wrist.
"Yeah, unfortunately," Gaston said. "He's been certainly playing defense better and swinging the bat pretty good, but right now he's got a sore left wrist. I don't know how long that's going to be."
Encarnacion, who has hit .274 with three homers and 12 RBIs since the All-Star break, is considered day-to-day right now. With Encarnacion out, Gaston gave infielder John McDonald the nod at third base and in the eighth spot of the order for the opener of a three-game set against Boston.
Encarnacion took part in pregame fielding drills, though Gaston noted that the third baseman's wrist is more of an issue when he swings a bat. Gaston said that Encarnacion injured the wrist -- one he had surgically repaired over the offseason -- on a diving play during Toronto's recent series in Oakland.
Jays not sold on idea of six-man rotation
BOSTON -- Manager Cito Gaston is not sure the Blue Jays will use a six-man rotation in September after all. Toronto had discussed the strategy as a way to reduce the innings load of its current starting pitchers.
Given the performance of some of the Jays' starters after extra days of rest this season, Gaston and pitching coach Bruce Walton are not sure a six-man rotation is the best approach after rosters expand in September. Gaston noted that the Jays have off-days on Sept. 2, Sept. 16 and Sept. 20 that would create additional days off for the starting pitchers.
"It's so hard because we've got three days off," Gaston said. "You might see [a six-man rotation] the last 13 days of the season, because we don't have an off-day. Right now, Bruce and I have been looking at it, and it doesn't look real good doing it that way.
"We'll wait and see and talk to [general manager Alex Anthopoulos], and we'll go from there."
Left-hander Brett Cecil has gone 1-2 with a 7.61 ERA in four starts after which he had six days or more of rest. In the same scenario, right-hander Shaun Marcum has gone 1-2 with an 8.55 ERA in four outings this year. Brandon Morrow has a 5.27 ERA in five such starts this year, as well.
"When they start getting that many days off, it's rough on them," Gaston said.
Buck impressed by prospect Drabek
BOSTON -- An added benefit to having John Buck spend three games with Double-A New Hampshire on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment was a chance for the veteran catcher to see some of Toronto's prospects.
On Friday, Buck said he enjoyed having an opportunity to catch Kyle Drabek, the Blue Jays' top pitching prospect.
"That was kind of fun," Buck said, "just to see who we've got coming up here -- the future, if you will."
Drabek -- acquired from the Phillies in December as part of the trade that sent ace pitcher Roy Halladay to Philadelphia -- has gone 13-9 with a 3.12 ERA in 24 starts for New Hampshire this season. The 22-year-old right-hander could be in the mix for a spot in Toronto's rotation next season.
Buck also caught Drabek during Spring Training and said he came away impressed each time. That said, Buck believes the strong rotation depth that the Blue Jays have at the Major League level can play a big role in making sure Drabek is not rushed to the big leagues before he is ready.
"He's so young and learning things right now," Buck said. "Rather than rush him and push him, you use that depth and what we've got in the big leagues now, so that he can develop the right way. So when he comes, he's like our young pitchers now, they're ready. They're ready to be tested -- not pushed.
"I think you can definitely argue that all of our pitchers this year, even though they're young, they're ready for the challenge. They're not being pushed before they need to, and I think that's why they've been able to be consistent and absorb and learn what they're doing. Rather than just trying to go out there and compete, they're going out there to win every day. I think that's because they're here at the right time."
When Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay belted a three-run home run in the first inning on Friday, it snapped a two-game homerless drought for Toronto. It marked just the seventh time this year that the Jays did not homer in back-to-back games. Toronto has only had one power outage of more than two games: a five-game drought from June 28-July 2. ... Entering Friday, Jays designated hitter Adam Lind was hitting .373 (19-for-51) with three home runs, five doubles and seven RBIs over his past 14 games. Lind was held out of the starting lineup for Friday's game in Boston. ... On Thursday, Triple-A Las Vegas' Mike McCoy went 2-for-4 with a triple, two walks and three RBIs. McCoy has hit .412 over his past four games and .333 overall for Las Vegas. ... Class A Dunedin right-hander Joel Carreno logged eight strong innings in a 3-1 win over Daytona on Thursday. Carreno allowed one run on three hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts, upping his organization-leading total to 160 strikeouts this season. ... Shortstop Justin Jackson went 4-for-4 for Class A Lansing in a 4-2 loss to South Bend on Thursday.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.