05/16/12 12:40 AM ET
Errors don't define Blue Jays' defense
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Toronto entered play on Tuesday night ranked second-worst among teams in the American League in errors (33) and fielding percentage (.977). Those problems were taken to another level in the series finale against Tampa Bay when the club committed an additional four errors that led to another loss.
In total, the Blue Jays have made six errors during their past two games which have contributed to seven unearned runs.
"We're in a stretch where we've not taken care of the baseball as cleanly as we have previously," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said prior to his club's 4-3 loss to Tampa. "But I will go back to our pitchers, [who] continue to pitch to contact, in most of those cases, double plays have been turned right behind a misplayed ball.
"We're still going to take the same preparation, the same over-shift that we've done in certain situations, same position. Errors are part of the game, and it's what we do immediately following that matters most."
Toronto has been one of the most aggressive teams in the Major Leagues this season with utilizing defensive shifts. The club has moved its infield defense against both right-handed and left-handed hitters depending on where the opposing hitters frequently drive the ball.
The exact placement of the infielders is decided by Farrell and third-base coach Brian Butterfield. Farrell estimates they have used the shift approximately 45 times more often this season compared to last year at this time, with one of the main reasons being third baseman Brett Lawrie.
"We're able to take advantage of Brett's athleticism quite a bit more," Farrell said. "That's what has allowed us that freedom to be more aggressive with those types of shifts.
"One, we know Brett more and what his abilities are. Through our understanding of him and the fact that we have more ground-ball type pitchers, those factors have allowed us to be more aggressive with the over-shift."
The strategy does come with some downfalls, as evidenced on Tuesday
night against the Rays. The Blue Jays used a shift against left-handed
hitting Matt Joyce, who responded by laying a bunt down the third-base
line for an infield single.
Lind continues struggles at the plate
TORONTO -- Adam Lind's continued struggles at the plate have left the Blue Jays searching for answers on how to solve their offensive woes.
Lind, who wasn't in the lineup on Tuesday night against Rays starter David Price, has tried just about everything this season, but has yet to find a consistent approach.
At one point, the club felt he was being too aggressive and later that changed to Lind not being aggressive enough. Through it all, the Blue Jays have placed him in the cleanup spot, No. 5 and No. 8 in the order, but at this point still haven't found out exactly what is wrong.
"The production has been less than his standard or less than what he has put up previously," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Yet, he continues to work to try to gain some rhythm. We've tried to look at matchups that are favorable to try to jump-start him. We've looked at different spots in the lineup.
"But to get to the point of an expiration date I can't sit here today and say that's in fact the case. But at the same time, there's an expectation that we have as a team to put the best team on the field to win, and that can be taken a step further for expectations for individual players."
Lind entered play on Tuesday night hitting just .184 with nine extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in 33 games this season. That's a far cry from his 2009 Silver Slugger season that saw him finish in the top 10 in almost every major offensive category in the American League.
The past two seasons haven't gone as smoothly, and while it's possible that Lind is still trying to live up to those lofty expectations, the Blue Jays hope he can forget about all of that.
"It goes back to what we continually stress with each player and that's to focus on the things that they can control," Farrell said. "You can't focus on what the bottom-line numbers are ... It's the attitude, the work ethic and the preparation that are really the only things that he can continue to control.
"To say that at the beginning of the season, he is going to go out and hit 'X', with 'X' home runs and 'X' RBIs, I think that's chasing a ghost. It's a matter of what he can most readily control."
Guerrero reports to Blue Jays Minors complex
TORONTO -- Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero reported to the Blue Jays Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Tuesday morning.
Guerrero, who recently signed a Minor League deal, was scheduled to undergo a physical before getting onto the field for the first time.
The 37-year-old veteran isn't expected to be ready for a promotion to the Major Leagues until at least June. First, the club needs to see what kind of shape Guerrero is in and then eventually get him into some Minor League games before taking the next step.
There are no guarantees Guerrero will even crack the big league roster, but considering the club's recent offensive woes at the plate, he is one internal candidate that has been openly discussed by the Blue Jays coaching staff.
"I think there are frequent conversations on how we can improve the team," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "One would have his name in it, one would have other names in it. I wouldn't pinpoint it to the time when Vlad is Major League ready.
"The one thing that I will say to that is that there are ongoing conversations that we look for ways to best improve where we are today."
Guerrero, who is a nine-time All-Star, spent last season in Baltimore. He hit .290 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs while posting a career-low .733 OPS.