7/22/2013 6:44 P.M. ET
Players keep positive attitude as season progresses
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Time is starting to run out on the Blue Jays' chances in the American League East and nobody is more aware of that than those inside the Toronto clubhouse.
The Blue Jays were in desperate need of a strong start to the second half of the season but so far that accomplishment has failed to materialize. The club is fresh off being swept in a three-game series by the Rays, dropping the Blue Jays' record to seven games below .500.
The 11-game winning streak in June is now just a distant memory and the results on the field will need to turn around in a hurry to avoid turning 2013 into a lost season.
"We're struggling right now and we just need to continue coming with the right attitude in the game with our head up and continue to play, continue to battle," Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes said. "We know we're struggling right now and we have to turn it around as soon as possible."
Late last week, Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle suggested that perhaps his club was overrated heading into the year following a dramatic offseason overhaul that included R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Melky Cabrera and Reyes joining Toronto.
Dickey echoed that sentiment on Sunday, but that doesn't mean there is any sort of internal turmoil happening with the club. Losses obviously lead to certain levels of frustration but as Reyes pointed out there is still more than two months remaining in the year and nobody is giving up hope just yet.
Still, the overall struggles of a team entering play on Monday night with a 45-52 record has been a big surprise Reyes and the rest of his teammates.
"The first day we got to Spring Training, we didn't expect to be that far at this point of the season," Reyes said. "That kind of surprised me because with all of the talent we have we should be playing better baseball than the way we've been playing right now."
Lawrie to jockey between second and third
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays seem relatively content with infielder Brett Lawrie bouncing back and forth between second base and third for at least the foreseeable future.
Lawrie began taking ground balls at second during his recent rehab assignment in the Minor Leagues and at the time the general consensus seemed to be that the club would pick a position and stick with it for an extended period of time.
That isn't the path the Blue Jays have decided to take, though, and it seems very possible that Lawrie will see time at both positions with his spot being dictated by who else is in the lineup.
"Over time we're just going to take a look at that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We're just going to play him at both spots, see how it goes."
Lawrie was in the lineup on Monday night against the Dodgers at second base and has now started five of his past six games at the position. It would seem probable that the bulk of his work will come up the middle, but Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio will continue to see time at second as well.
The 23-year-old Lawrie came up through the Brewers' system at second base but transitioned to third after being acquired by Toronto at the 2010 Winter Meetings. It remains to be seen whether Lawrie can handle second, but he does have plenty of athleticism and range, which could bode well for his opportunity.
There have been some growing pains along the way, though, as evidenced by a throwing error by Lawrie during Saturday afternoon's game against the Rays. He was put at third the following day, but Gibbons said the decision didn't have anything to do with the miscue.
For now, the work with infield instructor Luis Rivera continues as the Blue Jays continue to monitor his progress and whether second could become Lawrie's permanent home.
"There's different ways to handle the pivot and Luis can throw different things at him, see what he's most comfortable with," Gibbons said of the extra work.
"A lot of that depends on their athleticism and quickness ... most of them do it different. They'll experiment a little bit."
• Left-hander J.A. Happ is set to make his first rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday night, but it appears as though his return to the Blue Jays starting rotation isn't exactly imminent. Happ threw five innings last week for Class A Dunedin but hasn't appeared in a big league game since May 7 and will need to work out a lot of kinks before getting called up.
"He needs a few [starts]; he's been off so long," manager John Gibbons said. "He's got to build up stamina, he's got to get his pitches working better."