5/11/2014 7:10 P.M. ET
Rasmus owes upswing to tweak in hitting mechanics
By Jamie Ross / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Small adjustments at the plate are paying off big for Colby Rasmus. The Blue Jays center fielder entered play Sunday against the Angels hitting .308 in his past 10 games while riding a nine-game hit streak.
But Rasmus struggled early this season. He'd gone hitless 11 times through his first 20 games and posted a .192 average. His three home runs and .384 slugging percentage over that span weren't up to the standards one might expect from a player who possesses as much power as he does.
But after working with Blue Jays hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, Rasmus has enjoyed a turnaround at the plate, and in the past 15 games, the 27-year-old has posted a .291 batting average and a 1.007 OPS.
The key to his recent success? Small adjustments to his stance and approach at the plate.
"I've dropped the bat back and settled it on my shoulder to make my hands and shoulders a little more relaxed. That way I can be quicker," said Rasmus, who was back in the lineup Sunday after getting the day off Saturday. "My swing was getting long ... I was trying to hit the ball hard, so I'm relaxing more now."
Seitzer, who was hired by Toronto in October, said the manner in which Rasmus had previously held his hands out over the plate made it difficult for him to properly time and fire on offspeed pitching.
Seitzer said "frustration was at its maximum" for the pull-hitting Rasmus, and so the two worked on refining his stance. The results have been promising.
"The stance he had last season and from Spring Training into this year, from a timing perspective, it was very difficult to get your hands in a position to fire," Seitzer said. "We were trying to find something that was comfortable. ... Changing his approach to where he's back toward [hitting to] the middle of the field has allowed his swing path to be more consistent."
Blue Jays celebrate Mother's Day with pink gear
TORONTO -- Pink was prominent on Mother's Day at the Rogers Centre, as several players from both the Angels and Blue Jays swung pink bats and donned pink sleeves, laces, sunglasses, cleats and wristbands -- all in support of breast cancer awareness.
Several Blue Jays -- including Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Melky Cabrera -- used pink bats during batting practice. Bautista used his in his first at-bat against Angels hurler Jered Weaver in the first inning.
It was also a big day for Tracy Gavrielides. The Blue Jays season-ticket holder was selected through an online vote to be honorary bat girl for the day.
Gavrielides, a cancer survivor, was honoured in a pregame ceremony. As a longtime Blue Jays fan, she said having the opportunity to be bat girl for a day was the thrill of a lifetime.
"Being on the field, having my mom and my mother in-law here, it's all pretty special," said Gavrielides, 33. "I am lucky to be here today."
The Mississauga-raised Gavrielides has been cancer-free since September. She spent most of 2013 undergoing chemotherapy treatment and surgeries, and she is currently training and raising money for the 30km Weekend to End Women's Cancers on Sept. 6, which coincides with her being one-year cancer free. She's raised over $2,000 so far.
Gavrielides, who had her own pink bat and wore an honorary Blue Jays jersey, describes herself and her husband as die-hard Blue Jays fans, who follow the team on the road at least once a season. They've traveled to New York and Chicago to take in games, and they are planning a possible trip to Texas later this month.
She said she owes the day to her best friend, Karen Montgomery, who nominated her for the contest. The two have been best friends since kindergarten.
Melky maintains consistent swing into May
TORONTO -- Melky Cabrera started hot and still hasn't cooled.
The Blue Jays' No. 2 hitter has been been as consistent as they come for Toronto this season, following a difficult 2013 that saw him limited to 88 games while playing with reduced mobility because of a benign tumour on his spine.
Cabrera started 2014 with a 14-game hitting streak and he's rode that momentum to a .335 batting average and an American League-leading 53 hits entering Sunday. His success has been the product of a sound and consistent approach, said Blue Jays hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.
"He never tries to do too much, he never panics with two strikes or in big situation," Seitzer said. "He's always been the same guy with the same approach."
Seitzer should know. He worked with Cabrera as a hitting coach with the Royals in 2011.
Cabrera's success at the plate this season led him to set a franchise record for hits in the months of March and April with 40. He's kept it up in May, hitting .316 (12-for-38). Ten of those hits have been singles.
"He's got a great swing," Seitzer said. "He uses the middle of the field, never tries to overdo it. His work ethic and preparation is off the charts. Every day. He gets the reports I give to him, makes a game plan and approach and goes out and executes."
• The Blue Jays activated closer Casey Janssen from the disabled list prior to Sunday's game. To make room on the roster, second baseman Chris Getz was designated for assignment.
• Jose Bautista fell just shy of tying a club record on Sunday afternoon vs. the Angels. The power-hitting right fielder's streak of reaching base safely ended when he went 0-for-4 as the Blue Jays lost to the Angels, 9-3.
Bautista previously reached base in 37 straight games to start the season, which was already a club record. But he was also chasing Carlos Delgado's streak of most consecutive games on base (38), which was set in 1998.
The 37-game streak was the longest of its kind in the Major Leagues since Albert Pujols reached in 41 straight contests in 2008.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.