Arencibia flashes 'D' as he finds groove at plate

Arencibia flashes 'D' as he finds groove at plate

ARLINGTON -- Lost in the shuffle of Saturday's gut-wrenching ninth-inning collapse was a terrific defensive play by J.P. Arencibia.

Toronto's catcher was put on the spot when Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus executed a suicide squeeze in front of home plate.

Right-hander Jon Rauch charged the ball and attempted to make a flip throw to the plate with his glove. Mike Napoli slid into home and beat the throw to tie the score at 4, but that didn't faze Arencibia.

Toronto's rookie immediately spun and fired the ball to first base just in time to get Andrus. Instead of runners on the corners with one out, the Blue Jays found themselves one out away from getting out of the inning.

"It was just one of those things where I knew we weren't going to have an opportunity to get the guy at the plate," Arencibia said. "As soon as [Rauch] let it go, knowing the situation, trying to get that second out because now that runner on third doesn't make much of a difference.

"Instead, with two out you can get a pop fly and end that inning as opposed to one out pop fly ends that game."

Arencibia also appears to be finding a groove at the plate. The 25-year-old entered play Sunday night with three home runs in his previous two games.

That impressive output came on the heels of going 13 games without a homer. From June 9-July 21 he was batting just .134 (13-for-94) with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs.

Arencibia credited the turnaround in Texas to working with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy and not overthinking things at the plate.

"I was putting a ton of pressure on myself," Arencibia said. "Just getting so mechanical and think about all these mechanics. I had so many things in my head. Finally me and Murph just tried to make it simple.

"He had been saying it for a while and I was still trying to be too mechanical. Finally, I kind of just emptied my brain and said, 'OK, I'm going to see the ball, hit the ball and just let my abilities take over,' and it has been able to ultimately help me with my success."

Arencibia is batting .216 with 15 home runs and 42 RBIs in 76 games. He is just nine home runs shy of the Toronto rookie record set by Eric Hinske in 2002.