Negrych: Focus remains in minor leagues

Jim Negrych leads the triple-A International League with a .414 batting average in 2013.

Some players in Jim Negrych’s position might publicly push for a promotion to the MLB level. The 28-year-old second baseman leads the triple-A International League with a .414 batting average at a time that Toronto Blue Jays second basemen are struggling on offence.

Yet Negrych said all the right things when he joined Jeff Sammut on Sportsnet 590 the FAN Thursday evening. He’s focusing on winning games in his hometown of Buffalo instead of obsessing over the possibility of a promotion.

“If it happens it happens for the right reasons. It’s not anything that I think about on a daily basis,” he said. “I have so many things that occupy me playing here in Buffalo. It’s about how can I get better today. It’s not about how can I get to Toronto today.”

Negrych, a left-handed hitter, has a .414/.473/.629 batting line in 132 plate appearances with the Bisons. The team leads the International League with 5.51 runs scored per game, and hitting alongside other productive hitters makes a difference for Negrych.

“We’ve got such a good lineup for a triple-A baseball team,” he said. “There’s really no one that you want to pitch to in our lineup. Right now behind me in our lineup there’s Moises Sierra and Luis Jimenez and Mauro Gomez and each one of those guys can do a lot of damage.”

Negrych has a career batting line of .303/.380/.414 in eight minor league seasons, but has yet to play at the MLB level.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently indicated that the organization has been pleasantly surprised by Negrych, even if he doesn’t sustain a .400 batting average going forward.

“The reports have been great,” Anthopoulos said. “He’s playing exceptionally well, even at the end of spring training we saw him swing the bat well. Being completely candid, there’s obviously the point of are you expecting someone to hit .400 for the entire year when he hasn’t done in his entire career? No, but great surprise. … He’s starting to make his way into the conversation more and more as he continues to do this.”

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