TORONTO -- Jeff Mathis will assume the role of starting catcher, with utility man Yan Gomes filling in as the backup in the wake up J.P. Arencibia's fractured right hand and trip to the 15-day disabled list.
Arencibia, the club's starting catcher, is expected to miss at least six weeks after taking a foul ball off his hand in the second inning of Wednesday's 16-0 loss to Oakland.
"Probably the bulk of it, but that doesn't mean it's going to be six or seven days a week," manager John Farrell said when asked if Mathis would be his new starting catcher. "He goes from a kind of traditional role to the frontline guy. We have to be careful."
Mathis had only been seeing action behind the dish roughly once a week, so Farrell doesn't want to overuse him, so he will turn to Gomes "Probably two to three days a week at this point."
Arencibia will head home to Miami, and said he will be watching the team every game and provide moral support. Since the injury is to his hand, he will be unable to rehab while he remains in a cast, but said he will work his legs on a stationary bike and try to stay in game shape as much as possible, while eyeing a September return.
The blow couldn't come at a worse time for the Blue Jays, as the club is already without All-Star right fielder Jose Bautista (left wrist inflammation), which prompted Farrell to move Arencibia up in the lineup to the No. 5 spot. Arencibia, who left Wednesday's game before recording an at-bat, was on a tear, hitting .357 with five homers and 12 RBIs over his past 13 games.
The tough part, he says, will be finding that rhythm once he returns, but he plans on taking notes to remind himself what was working well for him.
"I felt good, I've made adjustments that have made me more consistent," said Arencibia, who has 16 homers and 50 RBIs. "I have felt locked in in one of those zones that you feel like you don't miss mistakes."
Arencibia said he has broken fingers before, but has never spent more than seven days on the DL in his professional career. He admits it will be a difficult time for him being away from the field.
"I don't like to ever come out of a game, and I don't like to ever not play," he said. "It's not cool."