Izturis improving at plate and in field

Izturis improving at plate and in field

Izturis improving at plate and in field

ARLINGTON -- Blue Jays infielder Maicer Izturis is finally starting to show some signs of life at the plate after struggling for most of the year.

The sample size is very small, but Izturis entered play on Saturday riding a four-game hitting streak. He is 7-for-18 over that span with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.

Izturis will have to continue that production for an extended period of time before any conclusions can be drawn, but the Blue Jays will take it after he struggled for almost two months.

"Free-agent signing, we have a few of those guys, and sometimes it takes a little while to settle in," manager John Gibbons said of Izturis, who signed a three-year deal in the offseason. "He's had a good career, he's always been a productive player; we knew that wasn't gone.

"Some things just take time, and when you struggle early and you're the new guy in town, the focus is on you and sometimes it's tough to fight that."

Izturis is a career .270 hitter, but he's batting just .221 this season. He's also experienced more than his fair share of struggles in the field at third base, shortstop and second base. He has just two errors, but there have been a lot of makeable plays that he hasn't been able to convert.

That's also changed in recent weeks, as he has assumed the starting job at third base while Brett Lawrie is on the disabled list. Gibbons believes the improved defensive play is directly tied to the increased confidence Izturis has experienced at the plate.

"It goes back to the confidence thing," Gibbons said. "Guys who have had great careers and been around a long time, they still battle that like anybody else."

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.