9/18/2013 6:23 P.M. ET
Gibbons to fill DH role based on matchups
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- With Edwin Encarnacion out for the season, the Blue Jays plan on having a revolving door of players in the designated hitter role.
Adam Lind, who typically split duties at first base and DH with Encarnacion, will take over at first on most nights the rest of the year, with Encarnacion out for the season awaiting surgery to repair the cartilage in his left wrist, leaving a handful of players that will see time at DH.
"We'll use different guys night to night," manager John Gibbons said of the club's strategy.
With Encarnacion's injury, Gibbons plans on using the DH to exploit certain matchups to the club's advantage, as opposed to sticking with an everyday guy.
In the six games without Encarnacion since he missed his first game Sept. 8 against the Twins, including Wednesday's contest vs. the Yankees, Lind has played first four times, with Mark DeRosa getting the other two starts. Kevin Pillar, Rajai Davis, DeRosa and Moises Sierra have all started at least one game as the club's designated hitter.
Making things even more challenging is the fact that Gibbons also plans on ensuring that his fly-ball starters -- R.A. Dickey, J.A. Happ, and Mark Buehrle -- all have the best defensive outfield behind them.
That's why Sierra received his second straight game at DH on Wednesday with Happ on the mound, as his bat has been more valuable than his defensive abilities, leaving Colby Rasmus, Davis, and Anthony Gose manning the outfield.
Sierra's adventures in the outfield have brought some interesting results, but his play at the plate is another story. The 24-year-old entered play Wednesday hitting .362 with a home run, nine RBIs, and 13 extra-base hits in September.
"He's off to a good start," Gibbons said. "[Andy] Pettitte carved him up last night. He found a spot he wanted to exploit a little bit … and he worked him over pretty good last night. So it's a game where he'll have to make some adjustments, but shoot, he's been great."
DeRosa's decision on next season still not settled
TORONTO -- With just two weeks left in the regular season, Mark DeRosa isn't any closer to coming to a decision on whether or not he'll return in 2014.
The Blue Jays have a $750,000 club option on the veteran infielder, but his return is dependent on whether he decides to retire at the end of the season.
"To be honest with you, this season has been fun, it's been a grind. … But I really just want to get away for a minute, reestablish myself as a husband and father, and then kind of decide whether I want to keep going," DeRosa said. "Obviously, they have much bigger fish to fry than me, and I understand that. Once I hear what direction they kind of want to go with, then it's a decision to be made by me and my wife."
It's likely that the club will pick up the option on DeRosa with the way he's performed this year, so the decision to return is more on the player than it is the club.
Over 184 at-bats DeRosa has seven home runs, 32 RBIs, 21 runs scored, with a .228 batting average, and .322 OBP. Good numbers for limited time, especially in the power department, as the veteran's wrist issues of the past three seasons finally seem to be behind him.
In a way, that makes the decision even harder for DeRosa.
"To be honest with you, the easiest thing would have been to chalk it up to being damaged goods and not give it another try, so I'm proud of the fact that I played," DeRosa said. "That being said, there's a lot that goes into getting ready for this grind. At 38 years old, regardless of the lack of playing time, the body doesn't respond the way you want it to. All those things will come into play. At the end of the day, I love the competition. From every former player I ever come across, they say, 'Make the team rip it off of you.' There's a part of me that truly believes that, and there's a part of me that wants to stop playing on my own terms."
At this stage in life, with a family and kids, the decision is not just about him.
DeRosa is well aware of the sacrifices his family has had to make for him to continue to play the game he loves, and at some point he wants to return the favor and be that family man, something that's tough to do during the season.
"I feel like I've had to be a very selfish person in this profession. I feel you got to commit 100 percent if you're going to hang around here and be great, or be good," DeRosa said. "A lot of people have had to take a back seat to it. I never felt like that was fair, but I thought it was the best way to approach it for me. I think the nicest thing to do, when I am done playing, is be the least selfish person in my family. Let other people do what they've always wanted to do."
"My two young kids rarely see me. I want a relationship with them. I don't want them to just know that that's the guy that goes on TV every day at 7 o'clock every night. I want them to know that I'm there for them the way my parents were there for me. Those are the things that I battle with. Whether or not playing one more year is ultimately worth it."
It's this turmoil that makes this upcoming decision extremely tough, especially considering that DeRosa still believes he can compete at this level.
Making matters even more difficult for him is that he knows the decision to retire is finite, absolute, and he'll never again get to put on cleats as a Major League Baseball player.
"It's scary. I feel like it's scary. It shouldn't be," DeRosa said. "I think the thing that people should understand that this has been my job since I was five. I never looked at it like that, but it's all I've known. … To just walk away, I don't know how I'm going to react to that. I think it'll be a positive, because I've put my best foot forward and I'm proud of what I accomplished. But at the same time, I'll never play in the big leagues again. It's all I ever dreamed of doing. I don't know. It's the great unknown question."
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.