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MacArthur: Gibbons expects changes to Jays for next season

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Scott MacArthur
8/26/2013 9:51:23 PM
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TORONTO - Manager John Gibbons doesn't expect the Blue Jays to have the same look when the club reports to Dunedin for spring training next February.

"I think the team, they need to make some changes, no question," said Gibbons. "Very rarely in the business do you maintain the status quo when you're coming off a bad year, you know? You can't afford to. They don't let you."

Gibbons wouldn't identify the changes he would make, reminding the assembled media that to do so would negatively affect certain players on the current roster.

"I think we need some little additions," said Gibbons. "You always try to identify where you need to upgrade. Just like some people saying you need to upgrade the manager. That's the way it goes."

Improved starting pitching, an every day second baseman and an upgrade at catcher are three areas general manager Alex Anthopoulos may try to address.

In the meantime, the Blue Jays are back in town for a six-game home stand, three with the division-rival Yankees and, following an off day on Thursday, three against Kansas City.

The recent 10-game road trip was ugly. The Jays posted a 2-8 record, including a four-game sweep at the hands of New York and a two-run ninth inning in Houston on Sunday to snatch victory from defeat and avoid the embarrassment of also being swept by the Astros.

Still, Gibbons expects maximum effort for the remainder of the season.

"It's easy when things go bad to tuck your tail and run, no question about it," said Gibbons. "It's easy to play when things are going good. It's tough to play when things are going bad, you're feeling the heat and everybody's breathing down your neck. But, you're a professional. You're getting paid good money. People are still coming to watch and they expect a good effort."

REYES ON JETER'S RETURN

Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees' lineup on Monday.

For nine seasons during Reyes' tenure with the Mets, from 2003-2011, the two manned one of the game's most demanding positions in, arguably, the game's most demanding market.

"I would say that he's one of my favourite players if he's not my favourite," said Reyes. "Just the way that he plays the game. He always gives 100-percent, that's good to see, he always comes to the ballpark with the right attitude to do anything he can to put his team in a position to win every single day."

Reyes and Jeter exchange the odd text message. Still, it's Jeter's advice when Reyes was breaking in that Reyes remembers to this day.

"He always told me one thing my first couple of years in the big leagues: keep your head up no matter what happens," said Reyes. "I learned that from Jeter and I appreciate that. I learned through my career, my first couple of years, if I didn't do too good with the bat I'd take it to the field and make a lot of mistakes. But I say, just don't worry about it. Just have fun and enjoy the game because you have talent. Don't try to go too crazy because you know you're going to play everyday, you're going to have the opportunity there for you so just don't worry about it, have fun and do your job."

With young players like Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins getting their first tastes of major league action, Reyes considers it his responsibility to maintain a professional approach despite the lost season.

"It's important because when I first came up to the big leagues I didn't know what it took just to belong here," said Reyes. "For me now that I have a couple of years in the big leagues it's going to be important to talk to them. The second baseman, our new guy, he sits beside me in the dugout asking me questions about the pitching and stuff like that. I'm going to be open to teaching the young guys. Through my career I've been like that. When I played in New York and Miami too there were a lot of young guys. I've always been open to helping them out."

JENKINS GLAD TO BE BACK

Chad Jenkins was back on a big league mound Saturday night, thankful for another opportunity he wasn't sure would come this season.

"I was somehow getting Red Sox hitters out and then I turned the page and I don't think I could get my grandmother out," said Jenkins. "I kept thinking in my head what do I throw, what am I doing wrong? I tried to start to mechanically fix things and that was leading to 55 pitch sides. I never felt right, something was always bothering me in my shoulder and I guess the good lord was good enough to let me pull something else so I could sit down, take it easy and start over."

It's been a weird season for Jenkins. A lat injury hampered him through spring training. By May he was in the big leagues and gave the Blue Jays three five-inning starts that month. His lone decision was a win in Boston on May 12.

On May 31, he started what would become the longest game in Blue Jays' history, a 4-3, 18-inning loss in San Diego.

After the game, Jenkins was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. The Jays needed fresh bullpen arms after a marathon game and Jenkins left with the understanding he would be recalled 10 days later.

The recall didn't happen and Jenkins struggled with the Bisons. In five Triple-A appearances this season, Jenkins has a 7.48 ERA.

"It was tough to swallow for me but at the end of the day it was a decision that was made for the team and I had to live with it and that's perfectly fine," he said. "I should have pitched better in Triple-A and I didn't. I have no one to blame but myself."

Struggling with confidence to the point he had fallen out of love with the game, Jenkins got hurt. He couldn't get his right shoulder loose.

It turned out to be the best thing to happen to him. He got healthy, pitched as far down the chain as the Gulf Coast League, and worked his way back – physically and mentally. "The second time with the rehab it kind of gave me my fire back for baseball," said Jenkins. "My arm finally got back to the way it was when I was fully healthy, how I felt last year at the end of the year and kind of just made me want to play again.

"When my arm finally came back underneath me I kind of said, I want to play again, I want to pitch. I want to see if I can get people out."

John Gibbons (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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