BUFFALO, N.Y. – Ryan Goins rejoined the triple-A Buffalo Bisons on Tuesday after his demotion from the Toronto Blue Jays, determined to improve his stroke and find his way back to the big-leagues.
The slick infielder was optioned Monday after he posted a .420 OPS with nine hits in 60 at-bats in 24 games, and the contract of Chris Getz was purchased from the Bisons to take over as the primary second baseman.
The simple message he received when the news was delivered before the Blue Jays left for their eight-game road trip through Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia?
“Try to get the bat going,” Goins said before manning second base against the Louisville Bats. “It’s the truth. When you’re not putting up the offensive numbers, it’s easiest to send somebody down. Hopefully I come here, get it going and get back.”
The move comes with the Blue Jays looking to squeeze out more production from the bottom of their lineup. While Goins reduced his strikeout to walk ratio from 14 during his 34-game stint at the end of last season to 3.25 this year, his line-drive rate dropped from 22 percent to a worrying 12 percent.
His first 12 games this year were especially rough with just two hits in 24 at-bats, and though he improved over the next 12 games with a .534 OPS, the Blue Jays’ patience had run out.
“I felt like the first two weeks I wasn’t really having great at-bats and then I went back to my old rhythm and started to have better at-bats, hitting the ball harder and being more consistent,” said Goins. “It is what it is, you’ve got to take it in stride, come here and get my work done. I’ve got to get rolling again and see what happens.”
Goins spent the off-season working with Kevin Seitzer and the new Blue Jays hitting coach believed an adjustment with his hands would help. They didn’t need to the 26-year-old to be a major contributor offensively, but something in the range of a .680 OPS would have been a sufficient complement to his plus defence.
“There have been a lot of adjustments. I feel good, I’m still confident in myself to be an everyday major-league player,” he said. “It’s frustrating to put so much work in and have so little result with the numbers. But I had good at-bats, I worked the count, I battled with two strikes. It’s part of the game.”
His goal with the Bisons is to “keep the rhythm that I’ve always had in my swing and hitting the ball hard consistently. That’s really all I want to do. Can’t worry about the result, the more you worry about the result, the more you’re going to beat yourself up.”
Goins’ career OPS over five minor-league seasons is .706, so the capability is there. Originally viewed as someone likely to end up a utility infielder, the Blue Jays had hoped that possibility would translate into more.
He’s got some work to do on that front.
“Bummed,” Goins said of his reaction when told of the demotion. “When you get an opportunity you want to take advantage of it. I worked my ass off in the off-season to put myself in position to take advantage of it and it hasn’t worked out so far.
“I’m going to come back here and keep working and get back as soon as I can.”
Notes: The Blue Jays released pitcher Mickey Storey to make room for Getz on the 40-man roster. Storey has had some issues with his neck and the Blue Jays will continue to be responsible for any medical needs he has in relation to those troubles. … OF Kevin Pillar went 4-for-4 with two walks in Monday’s 17-5 pounding of Louisville. He had an RBI single in each of the first three innings, each to a different part of the field. He headed into Tuesday’s contest on an 11-game hit streak.