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Rookie Goins looking to win second-base job

Rookie Goins looking to win second-base job

Rookie Goins looking to win second-base job

TORONTO -- Ryan Goins is quickly making an impression.

The 25-year-old is batting .400 with seven runs scored and a pair of RBIs to begin his big league career. With a first-inning single against Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie in Saturday's 4-2 victory, Goins matched Jesse Barfield's club-record eight-game hitting streak to begin their careers.

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While Goins' offense has been a nice addition that hasn't been seen from a Blue Jays second baseman this season, the biggest difference the rookie has made is with his solid defensive play, including a pair of tough ones in Friday's 3-2 victory.

At a position that has been largely void of defensive prowess this season, Goins has really opened the eyes of manager John Gibbons.

"You have to play some defense, no doubt," Gibbons said. "We've been bitten a few times this year where we don't make some plays defensively and it kind of brings back to light that a big part of this game is defense. Taking away hits, turning tough double plays, like ending the game last night on a nice defensive play."

"It's big, especially when you get in those tight ballgames. We've played a lot of one-run, two-run games this year where that big defensive play makes a difference between winning and losing."

With shortstop Jose Reyes having trouble moving to his left due to injury, defense, even the simple plays, have made the Toronto skipper reevaluate what he values in the field.

Now with Goins showing tremendous range and a strong arm at second he's making people take notice. Second base is a question mark for 2014 and the club wants to see what it has in the Round Rock, Texas native.

"He's auditioning, so run with it kid," Gibbons said. "See what you can do. We don't know what's going to happen next year, but if he comes out and shows us he's maybe the guy then may win that job. You never know."

While it's too early to speculate on the future, third baseman Brett Lawrie is among those that are enamored with how Goins has handled himself early in his big league career.

"I think Ryan's going to be a big part of the [future]," Lawrie said. "He's shown well so far. He plays the game hard, plays it the right way, does the little things. And that's the biggest thing is just doing the little things; getting guys over when he needs to, putting together good ABs, making the routine play, making a good one here and there, and turning the double play. He's impressed me so far."

Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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