03/12/2013 3:29 PM ET
Izturis, Bonifacio battling for second-base job
By Melissa Couto / Special to MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Opening Day is three weeks away and the Blue Jays' roster is virtually set, but the club is unsure whether Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonifacio will be its starting second baseman.
As manager John Gibbons sees it, both are excellent candidates, and his decision may take a while.
"It's going to come down to the wire, and … we may end up playing both of them a lot there," Gibbons said Tuesday. "They're both having really good camps and they're both proven big league players."
Izturis, who was picked up via free agency this offseason, has nine years of Major League service under his belt, including 231 games at second base. While the 32-year-old's defense has been fairly steady this spring, his bat has been cold until recently.
But Gibbons isn't concern about that.
"I saw Izzy play a number of years out in Anaheim with the Angels, and the one thing he always did was play the game the right way," said Gibbons. "If you needed to do something on the field -- get a runner over, bunt, big hit, have a great a bat, make a great play on defense -- whatever it is, he always does the right thing.
"I've seen him do really well in the past, so we can expect him to be a big boost and do those things for us."
Bonifacio, who was brought to Toronto as part of November's blockbuster trade between the Blue Jays and Marlins, has played only 72 of his 476 big league games at second base. The 27-year-old is batting .290 with four RBIs and four steals and has committed four errors.
Drabek scheduled to throw off mound this week
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Kyle Drabek, who was forced to leave a game last June against the Washington Nationals at Rogers Centre when he felt a "popping sensation" in his throwing elbow, is set to start throwing off a mound this week.
"We've got him and [Drew] Hutchinson down [in Dunedin] doing their rehab. Everything's moving right along, but it's going to be a while," manager John Gibbons said before Tuesday's game against the Red Sox at JetBlue Park. "He's not going to be ready until the middle or the end of the summer."
Following the injury, Drabek underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. After undergoing the procedure four years ago as a member of the Phillies' farm system, the 25-year-old was back in action within 13 months.
Knowing the seriousness of the injury, Gibbons won't be rushing Drabek.
"When you come off that type of surgery, you want to make sure you get at least a year in," Gibbons said. "He's a good ways off, but he's doing really well right now."
Drabek was 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 13 starts last year. In parts of three Major league seasons, the right-hander is 8-5 with a 5.34 ERA.
Rasmus working on basics this spring
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For Colby Rasmus, thinking about the game too much has done more harm than good in the past.
Entering his third season with the Blue Jays, the 26-year-old believes his over-thinking ways could be over, and a lot of that has to do with manager John Gibbons.
"My relationship [with Gibbons], it's been really good for me so far," the center fielder said. "I've always been one of those guys who do worse when people stay on me. In this game, they're throwing balls at 100 mph at you, and if you're so amped up that you can't even see the ball, how are you going to hit it?"
Rasmus began last season on a high note, hitting .259 with a .328 on-base percentage. However, after the All-Star break, those numbers plummeted to .176 and .238, respectively.
Although Rasmus is not blaming anything on former skipper John Farrell and his coaching style, Rasmus knows there's a distinct difference between his old manager and his new one.
Rasmus believes that will only work out in his favor.
"When somebody has confidence in you to play the game your way and follow your own instincts, it can make you have more confidence," Rasmus said. "When you're worried about not doing the right thing, or worried you're in the wrong spot because they're moving you around and telling you that what you're doing is not right, that can take down your confidence."
Now that he fully understands that, Rasmus said he's been working on the basics this spring.
"For me, it's just about staying relaxed and doing what I've done since I was three or four years old -- having fun, seeing the ball, hitting it, and catching it," Rasmus said.
Melissa Couto is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.