TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston is not about to strip Jason Frasor of his late-inning job out of the bullpen -- not yet, anyway. On Monday, Gaston said he would only consider moving Frasor into a lesser role if the pitcher's month-long struggles persisted.
"If he continues to go like that, maybe I'll think about that," Gaston said. "But I'd like for him to stay where he's at, as far as being the setup guy or the first guy in the seventh inning or the eighth inning. So right now, we'll just kind of leave it that way, and if he struggles, then we might have to do something else."
Coming off a career year in 2009, Frasor opened this season as Toronto's primary closer. Frasor quickly lost that job to Kevin Gregg and has posted a 9.35 ERA over 10 appearances as a late-inning reliever this season. In 8 2/3 innings, Frasor has already issued eight walks -- half the amount he allowed over 57 2/3 innings last year.
Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton said there has not been one specific thing that has served as the root of Frasor's early woes on the mound. Walton said the right-hander's changeup has been good, but hitters have not swung it as often as last year. The pitching coach also confirmed that Frasor's velocity has decreased some.
"His velocity is a touch down," Walton said. "It's not sitting ay 94-95 [mph] like it was last year. You're seeing [it around 91-93 mph]. I don't think it's anything other than at times, maybe [he's] just trying to make too good of a pitch and trying to aim the ball a little bit and not really letting the ball go and trusting it.
"I think that more than anything, when you get in a situation where things aren't going the way you'd like them to go, it does get a little mental. That's just the game. I think the ball gets a little heavier at times and you squeeze it a little bit and I think he's just got to get through it."
Walton added that Frasor has shown no signs that there might be something physically wrong with him. Walton also did not buy into the notion that the issue could be related in any way to working with two new catchers this season (John Buck and Jose Molina) after thriving with former Jays catcher Rod Barajas behind the plate in 2009.
"It's Jason's plan," Walton said. "Whatever plan he had going with Rod, he should have the same plan going with the other catchers. So my thought on that is the onus is on the pitcher. He knows his plan and the catchers are more than willing to execute his plan."