TORONTO -- The Blue Jays could easily be forgiven if they wanted to use injuries as the main reason for their recent swoon in the American League East.
Toronto entered play on Saturday with a record that is six games below .500 for the first time this season and has dropped 10 of its past 12 games.
With 13 players currently on the disabled list it's virtually impossible for the Blue Jays to have a sudden change in fortune, but injuries haven't been the sole cause of their recent woes.
"No, not satisfied overall," manager John Farrell said of his club's performance of late. "We've had some games where we've not executed well. Whether it's defensively, whether it has been some things on the basepaths or whether it has been some things from the mound.
"We certainly haven't strung together perfect games by any means, but yet there are other games we've battled right to the end, either been walked off, or things didn't go our way but put together a solid game and just came up short. There has been a mixed bag, there's no question."
The Blue Jays are currently playing without regulars Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia in their lineup while Colby Rasmus is also out because of a strained right groin.
The absence of those key players has led to prolonged slump at the plate for most of the team. Toronto has averaged just 2.4 runs per game over its past 12 games and is hitting just .210 with a .256 on-base percentage and a .570 OPS over that same span.
Rasmus held out of lineup, hopes to avoid DL
TORONTO -- Colby Rasmus was held out of the Blue Jays' lineup on Saturday afternoon because of a strained right groin.
Rasmus aggravated the injury during an eighth inning at-bat of Friday night's 10-4 loss to the Yankees. He originally suffered the ailment during the club's recent West Coast trip and is now expected to miss at least a couple of games.
"He's getting some further tests this morning just to determine how much he reaggravated the groin," manager John Farrell said. "After the game last night, our feeling was that he was going [to miss] two to three days as he did coming out of the game in Oakland.
"We don't think the initial tests in the training room last night were more severe than on the West Coast trip."
Rasmus was forced to miss two games in the Oakland series because of lingering soreness and he'll likely experience a similar fate this time around.
Despite the setback, Farrell remains optimistic that Rasmus will be able to avoid a stint on the disabled list and could return as early as Monday against the White Sox.
"Based on the tests last night, no," Farrell said of a possible DL move. "If we can get through it by keeping it to two or three days down, we'd much rather prefer that than 15."
Toronto can ill afford to lose Rasmus from its lineup for any period of time. The Blue Jays are already trying to make do without the services of regulars Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia and Adam Lind.
Versatile Gomes gets another game behind plate
TORONTO -- Yan Gomes got another rare start behind the plate for the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon against the Yankees.
Gomes came up through Toronto's Minor League system as a catcher, but he has spent the vast majority of his time in the big leagues as a utilityman. When starter J.P. Arencibia went down with a fractured right hand late last month, that opened the door for Gomes to see more time behind the plate, but so far most of the action has gone to veteran Jeff Mathis.
"In the limited exposure he's had, I think he has handled [Henderson] Alvarez good both times he has caught him," manager John Farrell said of Gomes, who was making his fourth start at catcher. "Prior to coming up, he was behind the plate pretty much every day. That's where he has gotten his most reps of late, and defensively he's handled the position fine.
"Offensively, when he's not getting regular ABs, with his swing and the amount of moving parts that he's got, that can be challenging for him to maintain consistent timing."
Gomes has also seen time this year at first base, third base and left field. The versatility has been a major bonus for a Blue Jays team that has dealt with more than their fair share of injuries, but Gomes still hasn't received an extended look at any one spot.
That has limited his overall at-bats and Farrell admitted the lack of playing time could be hindering Gomes' performance at the plate. The Brazil native is hitting just .176 (12-for-68) with three home runs and 10 RBIs despite a hot start.
If Gomes is going to have a future in the big leagues next year he'll need to adjust to a part-time role, but that has been a work in progress so far this season. The main reason is Gomes' complicated mechanics at the plate, said Farrell.
"You see the handset, there's a lot of movement to his loading position," Farrell said. "He has a pretty pronounced leg kick. Anytime you start to create movement, you're going to have to rely on some consistent timing.
"That's not to say what he's doing is wrong, that's just to say that's the way he swings and he has some regular maintenance to it rather than a low maintenance approach or swing."