08/04/11 7:17 PM ET
Blue Jays striving to seize the day
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Toronto is 41-28 at night, but the club entered play Thursday with a disappointing 15-26 record during the day.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell has tried to make multiple adjustments to the way his team prepares for matinee affairs, but so far there hasn't been an easy solution.
"If it has anything to do with the schedule, we've adjusted it to keep guys sharp," Farrell said. "Wake the body up, go through a condensed [batting practice], BP in the cage, go through a full workout.
"We continually seek ways to improve the overall daytime performance, because you look at our overall record and it's respectable. Yet the daytime, if we played to .500 in days, we'd be looking a much improved overall record."
Toronto's winning percentage during the day is the worst in
the American League. Only Houston (.286) and Colorado (.333)
have worse daytime marks in the Major Leagues.
Forearm strain lands Villanueva on DL
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays placed right-hander Carlos Villanueva on the 15-day disabled list Thursday afternoon with a right forearm strain.
Villanueva was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Thursday but the results were not immediately available. Even without the final diagnosis, the club knew a roster move needed to be made.
"This is probably as much fatigue as it is a strain," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said following the move. "I don't have the current results ... but the move was clear that we had to make a spot with Carlos going to the disabled list."
Villanueva surrendered a season-high eight runs on nine hits in just 2 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay on Wednesday. He has now thrown 97 2/3 innings on the year, which is his highest total since 2008.
The 27-year-old began the season in the bullpen, and it's possible the high number of innings has finally caught up to him.
There weren't any obvious signs of a major injury, but the club wanted Villanueva to be examined for an MRI just to make sure there isn't any structural damage in his right arm.
"He wasn't feeling discomfort," Farrell said earlier in the day. "I think just physically he is starting to fatigue. You see it with a little bit less velocity, particularly the action to the secondary stuff.
"That's where you see the reduced arm speed not allowing that good bottoming out action to his changeup or any sharpness to his slider."
Toronto recalled left-hander Luis Perez from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Villanueva's spot on the 25-man active roster. Perez will move into the bullpen, where he posted a 3.54 ERA in 35 1/3 innings with the club earlier this season.
The Blue Jays have an off-day scheduled for Monday and the club has opted to move forward with a four-man rotation on a temporary basis.
A fifth starter would not be needed until Aug. 13 against the Angels. Prior to Thursday's 7-6 loss to the Rays, Farrell mentioned Perez and top pitching prospect Henderson Alvarez as potential candidates to fill the vacancy left behind by Villanueva in the rotation.
Alvarez began the season with Class A Dunedin before making the jump to Double-A New Hampshire. The 21-year-old is 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 14 games with the Fisher Cats.
Snider optioned to Minors
ST. PETERSBURG -- Travis Snider's frustrating season took another turn in the wrong direction on Thursday afternoon when he was optioned to the Minor Leagues for the second time this year.
Snider was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room on the 25-man roster for the long-awaited arrival of top prospect Brett Lawrie.
"It's a business and a decision had to be made," Snider said. "Brett Lawrie is well deserving of the opportunity to come up here and I'm excited for him to get it. At the same time, personally, you want to be on the other end and be the guy that gets to stay.
"But those are the decisions that aren't in my control and I just look to keep getting better."
Snider suffered a similar fate earlier this season when he was demoted in late April following a disappointing start to the year.
The 23-year-old returned to the Majors on July 4 and responded with an impressive run at the plate. Snider hit .357 (20-for-56) with two home runs, 17 RBIs and nine doubles in his first 13 games.
Since then, he went into a bit of a slump and was batting just .136 (6-for-44) with one RBI and one extra-base hit in his past 11 contests.
The problems at the plate are somewhat similar to what he was experiencing at the beginning of the year, when Snider found himself a little too far out in front of pitches with his swing.
"Even last night, when he flew out, he was seemingly coming out of the box early," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said Thursday morning. "Front side pulling off the ball and it leaves him with that one-handed swing, rather than when he is hitting from a good, solid, firm base.
"Then he is able to stay through the strike zone with his swing two-handed and put more authority into the swing and driving the baseball."
Snider will now return to Las Vegas, where he played 49 games earlier this year and hit .333 with two home runs and 29 RBIs. He will continue working with 51s hitting coach Chad Mottola as the two look to find the type of success that made Snider one of the club's top prospects.
It marks the fourth time in four years that Snider has been sent back to the Minors. Snider put on a brave face in front of the media following the latest setback but one has to wonder what type of impact that has had on the young left fielder.
"I wouldn't say it gets easier," said Snider, who has hit .225 with three home runs and 30 RBIs in 49 games this season. "As a competitor, you never want to hear somebody tell you you're not good enough to be on a team -- when I feel like I've helped this team win some ballgames.
"But at the same time I try to keep it all in perspective, as a young man it's part of maturing, understanding what you can control and what you can't."