TORONTO -- The Blue Jays intend to mix and match at third base until Brett Lawrie is able to return from a strained left oblique muscle later this month.
Infielder Maicer Izturis got the call in the first two games of the season, but the duties were handed over to Mark DeRosa for the series finale versus Cleveland.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said the decision was made in part to get DeRosa some playing time and also to take advantage of his 7-for-16 track record against Indians starter Brett Myers.
"He's going to play tomorrow against a lefty anyway, and he's fared pretty good against Myers, so give him back-to-back games," Gibbons said. "That usually helps those guys, and you want to get them all in early so you don't waste their Spring Trainings too."
Izturis has the ability to play three infield positions, but so far this season his work at third base has come under question. Izturis missed a chopper through the infield on Tuesday night in a play that was originally ruled an error but later changed to a single.
During Wednesday's game, Izturis narrowly avoided another error following a botched catch on a soft liner. Later in the game, he had another miscue on a throw across the field which allowed Michael Brantley to score all the way from first base.
The mistakes were glaring, but Gibbons said that didn't factor into his decision on whether to give Izturis another start.
"No, he's played it in his career," Gibbons said. "He didn't get a whole lot of work over there, with what happened late [in spring] with Brett. But he's been around a long time, playing all over for a good ballclub out there in Anaheim so he knows what he's doing."
When Lawrie eventually returns from the DL, Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio are expected to split time at second base. There was talk about Bonifacio's defensive woes during Spring Training, but so far this season there hasn't been any issues and he has made a handful of nice plays both up the middle and when shaded towards first base.
Bautista twists ankle, expects to play Friday
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista was forced to leave Thursday night's game versus Cleveland in the ninth inning because of a minor right ankle injury.
Bautista twisted his ankle while attempting to beat out a double play ball in the bottom of the eighth inning. He temporarily remained in the game, but was eventually lifted for Rajai Davis, who came in as the defensive replacement.
The injury is considered relatively minor and Bautista sounds optimistic that he won't be forced to miss any time.
"My right ankle might be a little irritated, a little tiny tweak," Bautista said following the Blue Jays' 10-8 victory. "When I hit the bag I kind of jammed my foot. But I don't expect anything serious to come out of this.
"I have to wait until tomorrow to see how it feels when I wake up but I don't expect to miss any time because of it. So hopefully tomorrow, I'll wake up great, be in the lineup, and go beat the Red Sox."
The Blue Jays can ill afford to lose Bautista for any prolonged period of time. He has homered in back-to-back games and appears to be showing no ill effects from the wrist injury that prematurely ended his 2013 campaign.
There may have been a moment or two when there was some nervousness that Bautista might have done something serious to his ankle, but that was ruled out relatively quickly.
"We came in, took a look at it, and it's good to go," Bautista said. "Just a little soreness and that happens, play a long season you're going to have your pains and aches here and there so it's nothing serious."
Janssen goes consecutive days for save
TORONTO -- Casey Janssen wasn't sure if he'd be able to pitch on back-to-back days early this season, but he was ready when called upon on Thursday night.
Janssen, who threw a scoreless inning against the Indians on Wednesday, was back at it the following day. This time, he recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning to protect a 10-8 lead and secure his first save of the season.
It was a quick and easy inning, but one that becomes even more impressive considering that just hours earlier Janssen didn't know if he'd be available to pitch or not.
"I feel okay, I'll know more when I play catch and see how it goes," Janssen said prior to the game. "But you can't incorporate a game situation, even in Spring Training. When you turn those bright lights on, it's a different beast."
The Blue Jays fully expect to monitor Janssen's workload during the first few weeks of the year. That's one of the reasons Toronto opted to carry an eight-man bullpen after third baseman Brett Lawrie was placed on the 15-day disabled list in March.
Janssen wasn't feeling anything unusual in his right shoulder after Wednesday's game besides normal soreness. It's just that he might take a little longer to recover from each outing until he gets more innings under his belt.
The native of California appeared in just two Grapefruit League games and three Minor League games this spring. That wasn't an ideal number of innings, but was just enough to be made available at the start of the year.
"If I can, I'm going to do it," Janssen said before the game. "If they want to protect a little bit, it's understandable. It's a process. But I'm going to pitch every day that I can, and every day that they allow me to."
Janssen's availability became even more crucial considering fellow late-inning reliever Sergio Santos was unavailable after having pitched in the first two games of the season.
That would have left the Blue Jays having to use either Steve Delabar or Darren Oliver in a save situation. Instead, Janssen received permission to pitch. He has already been ruled out for Friday night's game against the Red Sox to get some much-needed rest.
Gibbons blocks out critics after slow start
TORONTO -- John Gibbons doesn't plan on being amongst those who get caught up in all of the hype and expectations surrounding the Blue Jays this season.
Toronto's manager is aware of the pressure, but doesn't pay much attention to what the media has to say about his ballclub. It's a stark contrast from previous manager John Farrell, who at times seemed to read every word.
The only time Gibbons says he pays attention to the critics is when he doesn't have a whole lot else to do.
"There's times, I'll be honest if I'm bored and I'm looking for something to do or read," Gibbons said with a laugh. "But I try not to read too much. Not that I don't respect your guys' opinions, there's probably some great advice in there, but sometimes it can frustrate you a little bit more, I guess you could say."
The stance is different than when Gibbons first took over as Blue Jays manager midway through the 2004 season. Back then, as a rookie manager, he was more concerned about what other people might have to say about his style and his players.
That's no longer really the case for the laid-back manager. He still reads articles on his team from time to time, but for the most part only sees the downside of paying attention to what often can amount to criticism and second guessing.
"When I first started, I'd read a lot," Gibbons said. "The reason being I wanted to kind and see what was going on, what was being said out there, might lead to any fires I needed to put out, to be aware of that.
"One advice you get from managers who have been around awhile that have been very successful, every one, they'll tell you, 'Don't read anything.'"
Gibbons also isn't on Twitter, which is probably a good thing following an 0-2 start which prompted a lot of hysteria on the social media network. For now, he'll leave those outside distractions alone and let everyone else worry about it instead.