04/22/2013 7:41 PM ET
Gibbons wants more patience as bats improve
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays have yet to find any type of prolonged consistency at the plate, but they've at least begun to find a way to climb back into games after falling behind.
Toronto overcame a two-run deficit in the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the Yankees en route to an 8-4 victory. The day before, the club forced extra innings by rallying from a three-run deficit in the eighth.
There's still plenty of work to be done for a club that projected to have one of the best offenses in the league, but at least there have been some recent signs of life.
"I think we're really close to it all coming together," manager John Gibbons said. "But until you actually do that, it's talk."
The Blue Jays have managed to put together back-to-back games of four or more runs just once this season. They scored four-plus from April 4-6, but have been unable to put everything together since.
A lot of the issues stem from a lack of patience at the plate. Toronto has a group of free swingers, and that's unlikely to change, but the issue becomes more glaring during a period of extended struggles.
The Blue Jays are hitting .256 (20-for-78) when making contact during the first pitch of an at-bat. Understandably, the numbers increase in hitters' counts, but the club has walked only 54 times, which ranks 10th in the American League.
"I think hitters are what they are, their mentality, their style," Gibbons said. "Usually, the guys that are very aggressive at the plate, there's probably no time in their career that they've been a disciplined hitter.
"But it makes it easier to come back when you fall down, 'Hey, we need to get baserunners on to make something happen anyways.' If you're down a few runs, a solo homer isn't going to do much for you."
Dickey feels better entering Tuesday start
BALTIMORE -- Right-hander R.A. Dickey appears set to make his scheduled start Tuesday night against the Orioles.
Dickey had been questionable for the outing because of lingering tightness in his upper back and neck area, which forced him from his last start after six shutout innings.
Toronto's No. 1 starter has been dealing with the issue for more than a week. But in his mind, there was never any doubt he'd take the mound in Baltimore.
"I was going to make it all along," said Dickey, who is 2-2 with a 4.30 ERA this season. "I don't feel like I've ever let anyone believe I wasn't going to make it. It's just something I have to monitor."
Dickey skipped his scheduled bullpen session this week to provide more time for the injury to heal. Instead of throwing off the mound, he had a light catch to keep his arm active while avoiding any strenuous activity.
The brief period of rest appears to have led to some positive results. Dickey said he feels much better than he did prior to his start Thursday against the White Sox, which was an outing he wasn't as confident he'd able to make.
Dickey said the discomfort felt more like a sore knot in his upper back rather than a sharp stabbing pain. It got progressively worse against the Royals, but the hope is that his start in Baltimore won't result in the same issue.
"It was just a progressive thing," said Dickey, who allowed just two hits in six scoreless innings against the White Sox. "Getting up, sitting down, cooling off, heating up, cooling off. It just tightened up.
"I probably could have kept going another inning, but it just didn't make any sense if I wanted to get to this place for my start [Tuesday] and be at full capacity."
This certainly isn't the first time Dickey has taken the mound while experiencing some discomfort. He pitched most of last season with a torn abdominal muscle, while he suffered a torn plantar fascia muscle in his foot the year before.
Despite the injuries, Dickey made a combined 67 starts over those two seasons. He expects to handle this latest ailment in a similar fashion, but won't know how it will feel until he takes the mound for the second leg of a three-game set in Baltimore.
"I don't really know what to anticipate," Dickey said. "If it's like last start, I'll have to tip-toe around it a little bit. But if it's not, if it has healed better than it did between the last start to this start, I might be just fine. I just won't know until I get out there and really get the adrenaline going."
Blue Jays trade Wells to A's for cash
BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays traded outfielder Casper Wells to the A's on Monday afternoon in exchange for cash considerations.
Wells was with the Blue Jays for only three games this season, but didn't actually get onto the field. He was claimed off waivers from the Mariners earlier this season and then designated for assignment by Toronto on April 15.
The constant roster shuffling for Wells means he has yet to play a Major League game this season. That's a big change for the native of Michigan who has spent three years in Majors, including 93 games with the Mariners last season.
Wells is a career .246 hitter with 25 homers and 80 RBIs in 593 at-bats. Most of his value can be found against lefties, as he owns a .264 average with an impressive .838 OPS against them in his career.