TORONOTO -- Manager John Farrell thinks this year's team can match the 88 wins of the 1998 team as the most wins since Toronto won the World Series in 1993. While he does think it's a possibility, admits it will be difficult.
"It's a realistic goal. It's going to be a daunting goal," said Farrell, prior to the team facing the Royals for the final time this year. "We know we're going to get back into our division here pretty soon and if you look at our overall performance, that's the one area for obvious reasons where we have to make gains."
Heading into the final seven games of August, the Blue Jays sit on 66 wins, but still face division rivals in the Yankees, Boston and Tampa Bay, all clubs ahead of the Blue Jays in the American League East, home and away between now and the end of the season.
"How we control the game from the mound from the start will be the biggest reason we would get to an increased number of wins," said Farrell.
At the very least, the Jays skipper is confident his team will end the season with more wins than losses.
"I think we have every reason to believe that we're an above-.500 club."
Johnson makes debut with Blue Jays
TORONTO -- The newest member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Kelly Johnson was sitting in his hotel room in Washington, D.C. when he got the news of his trade north of the border.
As if the shock of getting traded wasn't enough, Johnson was on the phone with his agent when he felt the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that shook the East Coast of the United States.
Since then, it's been a whirlwind of travel for the 29-year-old second baseman acquired in the deal that sent Aaron Hill and John MacDonald to Arizona on Tuesday.
Johnson, who was batting just .209 with Arizona at the time of the trade, had to fly back to Phoenix to collect his passport and settle some personal matters before flying north of the border. After arriving Wednesday night, he was happy to meet his new teammates and get settled.
"They made it really easy. Everybody keeps talking about how good a group this is. Obviously, everybody's young and hungry and we've got five weeks left to just get better and carry some momentum," Johnson said. "I'm excited, it took me awhile to get here and I'm glad I'm here. I've heard nothing but great things."
Johnson got the start at second base for Toronto Thursday against Kansas City in the rubber match of the clubs' three-game series.
It's a middle-infield reunion of sorts with Yunel Escobar, who played with Johnson when he made his Major League breakthrough with Atlanta.
"He's awesome. He's one of the best shortstops in the game. He has fun. He plays hard every single day. It's good to have that familiar face for sure," said Johnson with a smile.
Johnson is a free agent at the end of the year so the acquisition by the club is being seen as an experiment for both club and player to see if they fit together and whether a longer-term deal is a possibility.
Blue Jays' Snider sidelined with tendinitis
TORONTO -- Travis Snider's season is effectively over after a diagnosis of tendinitis in his right wrist.
Snider, who went for an MRI on Wednesday and was re-examined on Thursday, was expected to be a September call-up but is now to rest the wrist four to six weeks. He's carrying a .327 average and four home runs in 61 games for Triple-A Las Vegas.
In two stints and 49 games with the Blue Jays this season, the 23-year-old hit .225 with three homers.
Meanwhile, manager John Farrell confirmed that pitcher Carlos Villanueva would be making a rehab start Sunday with Class A Dunedin.
"He's scheduled for one inning on Sunday. He'll start that one game and then there's two other relief appearances," said Farrell. "When he comes back, it would be as a reliever."
Villanueva has a 6-3 record with a 4.24 ERA in 26 games this season, including 13 starts. He went on the 15-day DL Aug. 5 with a right forearm injury.
Blue Jays sign Canadian talent
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made one signing Thursday, inking a Canadian to a deal.
Lasalle, Ontario's Luke Willson, who currently plays football at Rice University in Houston, is an undrafted first baseman who played for the Canadian Junior team in 2008.
The 6-5, 240 pound, left-handed hitter is entering his junior year at the university, where he plays tight end for the Owls.
In his sophomore year playing football at Rice, the 21-year-old Willson had 33 receptions for 425 yards and three touchdowns.
Gavin Day is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.