TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' aspirations for the 2012 postseason were abandoned quite awhile ago, but manager John Farrell wants his club to know there is still plenty on the line as the year nears its conclusion.
Toronto is heading into what could become a very busy offseason, and while a set core group of talent is already in place, there are still lots of jobs up for grabs.
That has been a constant reminder to a relatively young team which might be playing out the string but is still attempting to make positive impressions for 2013.
"We communicate regularly on what is being evaluated," Farrell said. "That's shared individually and collectively as a team. Those aren't thrown to the wind because we're 15 or 18 games from the final day of the season. Evaluation continues to go on and there's still competition here. Not everyone in that room is guaranteed a spot next year."
Toronto's season went into somewhat of a nose dive on July 30. At the time, the Blue Jays were still very much in the mix for one of the two American League Wild Card spots, but they then proceeded to go 14-29.
The club has won just four of its past 14 series and owns a -62 run differential over that period of time. Despite the record, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said he hasn't witnessed any signs of his players accepting defeat.
"Not at all," Anthopoulos said. "I think guys are playing hard. It's just a matter that some guys aren't hitting, some guys haven't pitched and that's part of it.
"Guys get hot and cold, but I don't see that at all. We've lost a lot of one-run games. ... These have been close games, we've battled, we've fought hard. It's not to say we accept it or we're proud of it by any stretch, but it's not like guys aren't running ground balls out and things like that. Guys are playing hard. We're just not getting it done."
Injury, flu bug causes several roster lineups
TORONTO -- A trio of Blue Jays were scratched prior to the start of Sunday afternoon's game against the Red Sox.
Edwin Encarnacion, Yunel Escobar and Jeff Mathis were held out for various reasons. All three players were originally listed on the lineup card, but they were then removed less than two hours prior to first pitch.
Encarnacion was held out of the lineup because of a sore big toe on his right foot. He aggravated the injury while running to third base during Saturday's 3-2 loss to Boston.
The toe issue isn't expected to linger, and following an off-day on Monday, it's likely that Encarnacion will be back in the lineup for Tuesday's series opener in New York. His absence comes just two days after he was forced to miss one game because of a sore left wrist.
Escobar and Mathis were both scratched because of flu-like symptoms. The flu bug has been going around the Blue Jays' clubhouse in recent weeks, and the pair has become the latest casualties. They're both expected to be ready for action on Tuesday against the Yankees.
Second baseman Kelly Johnson was inserted into the lineup while Adeiny Hechavarria moved over to shortstop to fill the void left behind by Escobar. J.P. Arencibia then got the start behind the plate for Mathis, while Yan Gomes received a rare opportunity at designated hitter.
Crow hop slows down Gose's throwing ability
TORONTO -- Outfielder Anthony Gose has one of the best throwing arms in baseball, but so far poor mechanics have stopped him from unleashing that weapon on opposing teams.
Gose, who is a former pitcher, has well-above average arm strength. The issue is that he also has a big wind-up and has a tendency to take a couple of steps before finally letting loose on a throw.
"We're in the process of addressing that with both he and Moises [Sierra]," manager John Farrell said. "Their release times are far too long and it hasn't taken long for word to get around the league. They both have well-above average throwing arms, but we have to get them into a better position to take advantage of it."
Gose's throwing ability should strike fear into base coaches on opposing teams. Instead, other clubs are taking advantage of the delayed mechanics by often taking the extra base and consistently trying to score from second base on singles to the outfield.
The biggest issue is the couple of hops Gose goes through after he catches the ball and prepares to release the ball. The same could be said for Sierra, who also is going through a similar issue.
"What they're currently doing, typically what you do is when you receive a ball on the ground, you're receiving it as you're stepping to the ball with your glove foot," Farrell said.
"Then in a matter of one step you'd like to see the ball in flight. But there's a crow hop involved almost like they're crow hopping to long toss. It's taking an above-average arm and playing down a full grade on a scouting scale."