08/28/12 12:12 AM ET
Hechavarria getting opportunity to show skills
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
The 23-year-old is expected to start receiving the bulk of the playing time at third base as veteran Omar Vizquel finds himself on the bench with a little more regularity.
Hechavarria entered play on Monday night hitting just .179 in 14 games this season, but assistant general manager Tony LaCava doesn't feel that necessarily tells the full story.
"I think he's had some good swings, and at times, good at-bats," LaCava said. "I don't think he's chased as much as a lot of young kids do when they first get here. I thought he handled himself very well. Obviously the batting average doesn't say that, but I think he'll be better for having gone through all of that."
Hechavarria has yet to reap dividends at the plate in the big leagues but did display improved abilities this season for Triple-A Las Vegas. He hit .312 with six homers and a .788 OPS en route to being the sole member of the Blue Jays organization named to the All- Pacific Coast League team.
Improved hitting obviously will be key to Hechavarria's future success in the Majors, but it's his ability in the field that made him a highly touted prospect out of Cuba. Hechavarria has generally been considered one of the best infielders in the Minor Leagues, and the transition to Toronto has been seamless despite playing out of position at third base.
The biggest difference between this year's version of Hechavarria in the field compared to past seasons is that he toned down the desire to be flashy and is making plays more simple while displaying an improved arm slot.
"It's leaps and bounds better," LaCava said. "He's so athletic and he is so gifted. He can do some things that most people only dream of doing.
"I think the biggest thing we've seen ... a couple of years ago his
arm slot was really inconsistent and he had a lot of balls tailing up
the line on him. He didn't have the default slot that most good
infielders have, where they go to that slot every time. He has that now,
and that was a big improvement for this year."
Blue Jays' Alvarez exits after grounder off shin
NEW YORK -- Henderson Alvarez is currently listed as day to day but likely will make his next start after being diagnosed with a left shin bruise following Monday night's 8-7 victory over the Yankees.
Toronto's right-hander was struck by a ball off the bat of catcher Russell Martin in the fourth inning. The sharp single hit Alvarez on the left shin, and he was immediately forced to leave the game.
X-rays came back negative as Alvarez was lucky to avoid any type of serious injury. His next start would be Saturday against Tampa Bay.
"He's good to go, but given how that swelled up immediately, there was no question we were going to get him out of the ballgame right then," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Alvarez, who allowed four runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings before departing.
The 22-year-old Alvarez also narrowly avoided an injury earlier in the game when he stuck out his throwing hand to knock down a comebacker by New York's Eric Chavez.
Alvarez and left-hander Ricky Romero have been the sole members of the Blue Jays' starting rotation to remain healthy this season. Earlier in the year, right-handers Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison were all lost within the span of four days because of various injuries. Morrow returned following a two-month absence on Saturday, but both Drabek and Hutchison are out for the year.
Left-hander Aaron Laffey came on in relief of Alvarez but lasted only 2 2/3 innings before he too was forced to depart with a left leg bruise. Laffey was hit by a hard grounder off the bat of Derek Jeter and felt his leg go numb, but he also received clearance and is only listed as day to day.
Blue Jays await word on extent of Bautista's injury
NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays are still awaiting word on the results of Jose Bautista's latest MRI.
Bautista traveled to Cleveland on Sunday and was examined Monday by hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham. The results of the ensuing report should provide the club with a better idea of whether Bautista will be able to return before the end of the season.
The 31-year-old Bautista aggravated his left wrist injury during Saturday night's game in Baltimore. That came less than 48 hours after he made a return from a month-long absence with the same injury, and the Blue Jays want to avoid a similar setback in the future.
"We felt to be on the cautious side and, certainly to protect anything, we had to make the move," manager John Farrell said of the decision to put Bautista back on the 15-day disabled list.
Bautista is eligible to return from the DL on Sept. 11, but it's too early to know whether that will be possible. The Blue Jays first have to receive a recommendation from the doctor, and while they'd like to see Bautista play again this season, that is still very much up in the air.
The Dominican Republic native was only able to play 12 innings after missing more than a month before the injury woes resurfaced, and before any final decisions are made, the club wants to ensure it's not possible for Bautista to do further damage to the wrist area.
"I think before we go to any kind of further plan going forward, we have to factor in what Dr. Graham will say," Farrell said. "Ideally, we felt that when Jose initially came back to us, that not only would we get production, but at the same time, and probably most important, is that he would have had a good number of at-bats under his belt since coming back from the injury.
"He would have gone into the offseason with peace of mind, and we would have had a better feel and understanding with where he stood, from a health standpoint."
No timetable for Lawrie's return to playing games
NEW YORK -- Brett Lawrie's injured right oblique hasn't improved to the point where he is approaching a return to the lineup in the near future.
Lawrie, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list, is going through limited baseball activities at the club's Minor League complex in Florida, but there is no timetable for him to appear in an actual game.
"He's still going through strengthening, some range of motion, no full batting practice as of yet, to get back closer to potential game activity," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
"Every movement on the baseball field, whether it's defensively or offensively, that core area is going to come into play. It can be a little bit of a slippery slope if you go a little bit too fast, and then you set them back even further."
Lawrie originally suffered the injury during a West Coast road trip to Seattle at the end of July. He attempted to remain in the lineup, but tweaked the oblique a few days later in Oakland and had to be shut down.
The original hope was that Lawrie could avoid a stint on the DL, but the pain lingered and still hasn't completely subsided. It's been a lot longer than previously anticipated, but the hope remains that he'll be back at some point in September.
"I think in Brett's case, as we're looking, it would be beneficial for him and for all of us if by the end of the season we have him back active, back symptom free, but he has yet to get into a game here anytime soon," Farrell said.