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Gibbons unfazed by Izturis, Bonifacio defense

Gibbons unfazed by Izturis, Bonifacio defense play video for Gibbons unfazed by Izturis, Bonifacio defense

DETROIT -- The Blue Jays insist they aren't running out of patience with the defensive woes currently plaguing infielders Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio.

Both infielders have experienced more than their fair share of difficulties through the first eight games of the season. They combined to record six errors -- four for Bonifacio, two for Izturis -- entering Thursday's game in Detroit. But beyond the obvious miscues, there also have been a lot of makeable plays that simply aren't being converted.

The situation is far from ideal but with Brett Lawrie currently on the 15-day disabled list, the Blue Jays will have to continue to mix and match in the infield until his return later this month.

"They're working on it, and there are two guys that are moving around different situations, different positions," said third base coach Luis Rivera, who is in charge of infield defense. "During their career they've played different positions and they're getting used to playing one position all of the time. I think they're fine, they both have good hands, [they're] good defenders and I have no worry about those guys."

Izturis and Bonifacio were expected to compete for the starting job at second base during Spring Training, but that changed in late March when it was revealed Lawrie wouldn't be ready for the start of the season because of a strained left oblique muscle.

That forced Izturis to make the transition to third. It should have been a relatively easy move considering he's played there more than any other position in his career, but the results have been mixed so far.

The same could be said for Bonifacio at second base. He's made a couple of highlight reel plays this season, but he's also struggled with some routine grounders and throws to first. The overall tools are there, which has led some to suggest Bonifacio's struggles are more mental than anything else.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons quickly denied that on Thursday, but he did opt to give Bonifacio a day off on Thursday. Izturis shifted to second and Mark DeRosa got the start at third.

"He's just had a couple of games where it has been a tough go," Gibbons said of Bonifacio. "I don't know him well enough, and I'm not in his head, but he has showed no signs that it has really affected him because he's getting after it out there.

"He's playing the game hard and I don't think he has that personality where you can really get him down. We'll give him a day off and then put DeRosa out there and Izzy over at second. I'm not worried about his mental side."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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