TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays have had internal discussions about breaking in top prospect Anthony Gose in left field, and while there are no plans to bring him up from triple-A in the immediate future, his first start of the season there suggests they are laying the groundwork to make it possible.
Gose — in the midst of a 16-game hitting streak since widening his batting stance, batting .464 (32-for-69) over that span — shifted from centre field to left during Las Vegas’ 11-1 thumping of Tucson on Friday night. It was the 21-year-old’s 10th career professional game at the position.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell played down the significance of the unusual alignment employed by the 51s — right-fielder Moises Sierra played his third pro game in centre, while Eric Thames moved from left to right — saying Saturday morning the shakeup was “just to get guys exposed to different areas.”
But by making Gose more comfortable in the corner, the Blue Jays open up another avenue for him to reach the big-leagues, particularly with Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista occupying centre and right at the big-league level, left field unsettled, and the club eager for another left-handed bat.
Gose is batting .307/.379/.443 with three homers, 27 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 24 stolen bases in 29 attempts over 54 games for Las Vegas through Friday’s play. General manager Alex Anthopoulos has said in the past he’d like Gose to spend the full season in triple-A.
Travis Snider, returning from wrist problems to extended spring play Saturday, may very well get a shot in left field before Gose this season, but it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a centre-fielder prospect to debut elsewhere.
Jacoby Ellsbury played left primarily when first called up by the Boston Red Sox in 2007, floating between all three outfield spots until settling in centre in 2009.
The Blue Jays are expected to drop a reliever for a position player after this weekend’s series against the Red Sox. Vladimir Guerrero, who makes his Vegas debut Saturday, might be a possibility.
SANTOS ON MOUND: Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos threw 25 pitches in a “controlled bullpen” session Friday, his first time on the mound since his shoulder flared up in April.
The plan is for him to throw again Monday and progress from there, although Farrell said it was “unlikely” he’d face live hitters for another week yet.
BRUISED NOT BEATEN: Henderson Alvarez “checked out fine” Saturday morning, according to Farrell, showing no ill-effects from the comebacker he took off his left shin the previous night.
He seems to have gotten off far easier than teammate Brandon Morrow, who reported improved range of motion and strength in his right shin, struck by a Wilson Betemit liner Wednesday.
Morrow played catch Saturday and sees no reason why he won’t be able to throw his scheduled bullpen Sunday ahead of his next outing Wednesday at Chicago.
“It’s sore, and I’m not walking perfectly, but (Friday) was better than the day before and today is better than (Friday),” said Morrow, who slept only an hour after Wednesday’s game because of the throbbing in his leg. “I expect everything to be fine.”
Morrow has been receiving laser and ultrasound treatments, stretch and massage to push the blood out of the area.