Randal Grichuk’s cold bat for Blue Jays has become a hot topic

CLEVELAND — The Blue Jays have a winning record, so nobody is pushing the panic button when it comes to Randal Grichuk … yet.

But the question remains: What should manager John Gibbons do about Toronto’s new outfielder, the guy who is supposed to be a significant upgrade over Jose Bautista in right field? Do they keep running him out every day? (Gibbons didn’t run Grichuk or anyone out on Saturday at Progressive Field as the game was postponed until May 3 because of rain). Or do they banish him to the dugout and use a combination of Teoscar Hernandez, Curtis Granderson and Steve Pearce in the corner outfield spots?

At this point, the Jays getting nothing out of the 26-year-old other than some defence (though he has four walks and stole a base on Friday). Grichuk, whom the Jays acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Greene, has gotten off to the most miserable of starts with the Jays. Heading into Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Indians, he was hitting .071 (3-for-42) with one home run. His average is the lowest in the majors among qualified batters and has one hit in his past 37 plate appearances. How long can Gibbons keep writing his name on the lineup card? It appears for a while. Gibbons said it might make things worse if they sit Grichuk and not give him a chance to dig himself out of his hole. Grichuk is out of minor-league options, so it’s either sit or play. Gibbons has opted for play … for now.

“We believe in him,” said Gibbons. “I think he’s close (to breaking out). I mean he’s just missing some balls for whatever reason. We’ll let it run out and I think one solid game might set him off in the right direction.”

Grichuk hit 24 homers as a 24-year-old with the Cards in 2016 and 22 last year.

“He’s done it before, it’s not like he hasn’t hit at this level and never had any success,” said Gibbons.

The manager said if Grichuk can do some good things in the outfield (like the outstanding diving catch he made on Francisco Lindor in the fourth inning on Friday) and on the bases (he stole a base and scored after walking in the seventh), he can still contribute.

“When he gets on, he can do some things because he can run. And we’ve been looking for some of that around here,” said Gibbons. “But, you know, he’s a human being and naturally he’s pressing hard.”

GRANDERSON A SHOE-IN

Every year, veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson has a pair of shoes custom designed to honour baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947 when he became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball (modern era). The shoes were usually decked in the colours of Robinson’s team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, with his face and number adorned on the side.

Granderson would wear them on Jackie Robinson Day and then the shoes would be auctioned off with the money going to the Robinson family foundation. This year, the Jays’ outfielder decided to shake things up. The company that designs Granderson’s cleats, The Sole Revival in Chicago, has designed a pair of shoes that will honour both Robinson and Larry Doby, who three months after Robinson joined the Dodgers broke the colour barrier in the American League by signing with the Indians. Because the Jays are scheduled to play in Cleveland on Jackie Robinson Day on Sunday, Granderson thought it would be a good idea to honour both pioneers this year.

The shoes will be adorned with their image, numbers and team colours and will be sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame afterwards.

“Now the only thing that we need is for the weather to co-operate so we can wear them,” said Granderson prior to Saturday’s rainout. “Even if we don’t play (Sunday), my understanding is we can do it Monday in Toronto. So we can rock them both and afterwards they’re going to the Hall of Fame.”

AROUND THE BASES

Gibbons has no doubt that struggling second baseman Devon Travis (.086) is going to break out of his slump sooner than later. “I’ll bet my life on it, he’s going to hit,” said Gibbons. And if he doesn’t? Gibbons said his talk with Travis will go something like this: “Come on kid. Let’s go. Let’s go. It’s just my life!” … With his homer on Friday, Toronto infielder Aledmys Diaz has now gone deep in back-to-back games twice in 12 games. Prior to the 2018 campaign, while in St. Louis with the Cardinals, he’d never done that, even once … Infielder Yangervis Solarte drew his 10th walk of the season on Friday and has reached base in all 12 of his games this season (.423 OBP) — the longest on-base streak to begin a season by a Jay since Jose Bautista’s 17-game stretch to start the 2016 campaign.

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

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