Manager John Farrell opted to take Arencibia out of the game for veteran Omar Vizquel with the go-ahead run on third base in a 2-2 ballgame against the A's.
The move came as a surprise to Arencibia, who was already in the batter's box by the time he received word from the dugout that he was being pulled.
"Throughout my career I've always driven in runs, I've always been a guy in those situations, and I feel like that's when I thrive," said Arencibia, whose club eventually lost 7-3 on a walkoff home run in the ninth. "He's our manager and I support every decision and all I want to do at the end of the day is win, that's all I care about."
Farrell made the substitution because he felt that Vizquel would be better suited to avoid a potential inning-ending double play and created the possibility for a safety squeeze.
Toronto attempted to make that strategic move on a 3-1 count, as Vizquel turned to bunt, but instead popped out to third baseman Brandon Inge. The frustration was evident on Arencibia's face both in the dugout and in the clubhouse after the game, but Farrell said he was understanding of the attitude.
"You don't want anybody to be accepting, and certainly guys need that feeling of invincibility and that confident feeling," said Farrell, who had a one-on-one meeting with Arencibia prior to Wednesday afternoon's game to explain the move.
"[It's needed] to get to this level and to be a performer on an everyday basis at the big leagues. He has his right to his own opinion, but at the same time I wanted him to be sure of my thinking leading up to that."
That type of late-inning substitution can sometimes cause players to doubt whether they have the support of the organization when the game is on the line. Arencibia said that's not the case, but admitted he was still bothered by the decision.
"I don't think he has any lack of faith in my abilities, for whatever reason he thought that was the smart play to be able to have a guy that can handle the bat," Arencibia said. "He can lay down a bunt in that situation, but as a player does it kind of rattle your head a little bit? Yeah, it does rattle your head a little bit. I'm a competitor, and it's never really happened to me in my career. It's tough, but you've got to lace them up and get ready the next day.
"I lost a lot of sleep over it, it didn't really sit too well with me. It was more difficult [because] we lost the game."