Farrell preaches importance of mental strength

Farrell preaches importance of mental strength

Farrell preaches importance of mental strength
NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays have faced their fair share of adversity this season. Injuries have run rampant through the club's roster, and Yunel Escobar's suspension is another black mark during a year that can be seen as a disappointment.

But manager John Farrell refuses to make excuses for how his team has played this year.

"Every year presents a set of challenges," Farrell said. "You quickly find out and realize -- and I'm sure players [have] this year, because they have been involved or because there has been a number of things that have been thrown our way -- the game doesn't stop.

"The game stops for no one. Regardless of what challenge is thrown at us -- either performance, physical injury or other issues -- you have to deal with it and remain focused on your individual job. The overall goal doesn't change, and that is to go out and win a game today."

Toronto lost three starting pitchers in the span of a week in June, lost slugger Jose Bautista to season-ending left wrist surgery in August and has seen key position players such as Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia spend time on the shelf for various injuries.

The injuries have forced the club to use 52 players this season, including a number of Minor Leaguers who likely wouldn't have been summoned to Toronto until September.

The Blue Jays could finish a season with 90 losses for the first time since 2004 -- the only time the club has recorded that many losses since its first four years in the Majors, from 1977-80. Toronto also risks finishing in last place in the American League East for the first time since '04.

"Every year presents a mental fatigue in September or late in the season, regardless of the issues you are dealing with," Farrell said. "It's not an excuse or a convenient crutch to accept anything less. Like I said, every year is going to present situations to deal with, and that is part of being a Major League player.

"I always view that players earn the money they do at this level to go out and play the game that they played as a kid and yet deal with all the distractions that are thrown their way."