ANAHEIM -- The lack of defensive fundamentals shown by the Blue Jays has become a concern as the club attempts to reverse its downward spiral in the American League East.
Toronto is tied for fourth in the Major Leagues with 78 errors this season, but just as alarming are the plays that don't show up in the box score. Center fielder Colby Rasmus has experienced a lot of difficulty hitting the cutoff man on his throws into the infield, and there are also plenty of examples of double plays not being turned and ill-timed mental mistakes on the field.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos was questioned about the concerns during a morning scrum with the media, and although he tried to downplay the issue, it's clear that it has been a problem this season.
"It's been sloppy the last little while, to say the least," Anthopoulos said. "We've talked about it at length. I know we're going to be working with Colby a little bit more. [Jose] Bautista, the first night in Oakland, threw away a ball. But with Jose, if you look at the entire year, he's made some unbelievable throws, some very accurate throws to the plate.
"Colby has a tendency to yank balls aimed at home plate. It seems more so this year than in the years past. That's something we're going to work on a little bit more. Maybe it's guys trying to do too much but it's something that's going to be addressed, and it will eventually show itself on the field."
The Blue Jays have discussed everything from taking a different approach in Spring Training to possibly changing some of the personnel on the field. Anthopoulos did say the extended absences of Brett Lawrie and Jose Reyes to injuries this season have played a role in the issues, but ultimately it's up to the players to perform better.
"At some point it falls on the players as well," Anthopoulos said. "Maybe that's something that as we're evaluating going forward, the same way that you work with someone on their mechanics, working with someone at the plate to hit, if the results aren't there, you continue to work, to be committed to the players.
"But it's not for the lack of any effort at all -- whether it's the coaches, the manager or so on. At some point, in terms of making the plays, it falls on the players as well. I don't think these guys are trying to make mistakes. I think ultimately then it falls on me to get certain players that are going to start to make those plays."