TORONTO -- Eric Thames has shown enough during his rookie campaign to warrant a spot in the starting lineup even when there's a tough left-hander on the mound.
Thames has become an everyday player during 44 games with the club this season. He got the start vs. Rangers southpaw C.J. Wilson on Sunday in part because of his overall production against lefties.
The 24-year-old Thames is batting just .226 (7-for-31) against southpaws, but he does have two home runs and six RBIs.
"I think the numbers bear it out," manager John Farrell said of Thames starting. "He has put up good at-bats against left-handers. He has stayed in on some balls, he has driven some balls the other way.
"The fact that he has been in a good run, a productive run, and [I] just feel like right now he's probably a little bit more equipped to handle a tough lefty and we're in the process of finding out about him as well."
The same every day role can't be said for left fielder Travis Snider, who has not received a similar opportunity. Snider wasn't in the starting lineup Sunday, but Farrell didn't want to close the door on starting against lefties down the road.
Snider is batting .125 (5-for-40) with one home run and six RBIs against left-handers this year. During his four seasons in the Majors, the Washington native has posted a .216 average in 153 at-bats against southpaws.
Farrell said the decision to sit Snider on Sunday made sense because he wanted to find a way to get outfielder Rajai Davis into the starting lineup and also provide J.P. Arencibia with a chance to serve as the designated hitter.
"I don't think that we're at the point of saying Travis is solely a platoon guy," Farrell said.
"This isn't a matter of limiting Travis to left-handers only."
Escobar gets planned day off against Rangers
TORONTO -- Yunel Escobar was not in the Blue Jays' starting lineup Sunday afternoon, but the club said it had nothing to do with not running out a ground ball Saturday.
Escobar hit a grounder to Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler during the sixth inning of Saturday's game. Escobar appeared to jog down the first-base line before speeding up as he neared the bag.
The 28-year-old then exchanged some words with first-base umpire Marvin Hudson, because he felt Michael Young had not maintained contact with the base. That led to Escobar's ejection but not his benching for the series finale against Texas.
"That is in the process of being addressed, but today's day off is not reflective of that," manager John Farrell said of Escobar's lackadaisical run to first.
Farrell said Escobar's absence was just a normal day off. The Toronto skipper also gave Adam Lind a rest by starting Edwin Encarnacion at first base. Encarnacion made the most of his playing time immediately, crushing a two-run homer to left field in the first inning.
The decision was made because with an off-day looming on Monday, each player will receive an extended period of rest during the dog days of summer.
"When we have the opportunity, yeah," Farrell said when asked if he preferred giving players the back-to-back days off. "I think the fact that we're deep into July, obviously the end of July, guys have been going every day and it was a chance to give them a day off."
Escobar entered play Sunday ranked second in the American League during July in on-base percentage (.462), seventh in walks (13) and eighth in average (.367).
The Cuba native is batting .305, with nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 98 games this season.