Izturis staking claim to second-base job

Izturis staking claim to second-base job

NEW YORK -- Maicer Izturis seems to have the early edge on the starting job at second base.

Izturis went to Spring Training competing for the job with utility man Emilio Bonifacio. Both were pressed into full-time duty when Brett Lawrie missed the start of the season with an oblique injury, but now that Toronto has its third baseman back, the competition has returned.

The Blue Jays haven't officially declared that Izturis is their everyday guy, but he has received the bulk of the work since April 16.

"Izzy has been more steady there," manager John Gibbons said. "We'll look at what they've done on the matchup against a pitcher on a given night. If somebody needs a day off, we can use Boni in the outfield or the infield."

Izturis was forced to miss Monday's game against Baltimore with a minor hamstring issue, but other than that he has started every game since Lawrie's return. Bonifacio, meanwhile, has started just five of those nine games, as the Blue Jays seem to be moving him into more of a super-utility role.

That could change, but for now Gibbons appears to like Izturis at second and feels as though he has started adjusting to his new surroundings after a rough start to the year.

"You see it all the time. Think back over the years of baseball, free-agent guys, even trades, sometimes it takes a little while to settle in," Gibbons said of Izturis, who signed a three-year deal this offseason. "You want to make everything look right, look good, make it a great trade. I think the tendency is [to] try a little too hard, press a little bit.

"The great players and just the good players, they all do it. We've had a few of those guys that are new faces in town, and I think that has affected a few of them."

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.