Blue Jays get Buck back behind the plate

Blue Jays get Buck back behind the plate

BOSTON -- The Blue Jays got a look at highly touted catching prospect J.P. Arencibia over the past two weeks, but the club returned to reality on Friday at Fenway Park. Veteran catcher John Buck was off the disabled list and behind the plate for Toronto.

Buck went 4-for-5 with four runs scored in the Jays' 16-2 win over the Red Sox. The four hits tied a career high, while the four runs were a personal best.

Arencibia was sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas following Wednesday's game in Oakland, but it was a move the young catcher knew was coming. The plan all along was for Arencibia to join the Jays when roster expand on Sept. 1, and that will likely remain the case. Buck's right thumb injury forced Arencibia to the Majors sooner than expected.

"We're happy Buck is back," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said prior to Friday's game against the Red Sox. "The kid was up here and we got a look at him. More than likely he'll be back in September and we'll get to see him a little bit more."

Buck -- an American League All-Star this season for the Blue Jays -- was struck on the right thumb by a foul ball off the bat of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez on Aug. 4 in New York. The catcher suffered a deep cut that required three stitches, but he is back at full strength with no issues hitting or throwing.

"I got done what I wanted to do," said Buck, who entered Friday hitting .277 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs in 84 games for the Jays. "Go down there, get in some games, get some at-bats, see some pitches, which I did. Things went well."

In three Minor League rehabilitation games with Double-A New Hampshire, Buck went 3-for-11 with two home runs and six RBIs. While catching, Buck said he tested out a few different ways to position his throwing hand with runners on base. In all likelihood, the catcher will stick with the technique he has always used.

"Since it was a Minor League game, I was toying with things," Buck said. "I'll probably do what I normally do. I mean, how many games do you go [without getting hit by a foul ball], and then it's kind of a fluke thing that happened."

In five games with the Blue Jays, the 24-year-old Arencibia -- a first-round pick by Toronto in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft -- hit .250 with two home runs and four RBIs. In his Major League debut on Aug. 7, he went 4-for-5, becoming the first player in the Modern Era to have two home runs and four hits in a Major League debut.