Maicer Izturis exits game early with groin strain


The Toronto Blue Jays continue to learn that good news is a rarity in Spring Training, as second baseman Maicer Izturis left today’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the third inning.  The early indications are that Izturis strained his right groin, but a diagnosis and timetable for his return will not be available until later this evening or tomorrow.

Entering today’s action, Izturis was hitting just 1-for-15 with three walks, but started the scoring against Tampa with an RBI single and still holds a very strong chance of being included in the Blue Jays 25-man roster.  Rookie Devon Travis has been lighting the diamond on fire lately, however, with a .344 batting average and four doubles, which has forced the Blue Jays to explore Izturis’ versatility as a utility infielder.

Alex Anthopoulos and the Jays seemed intent on testing Izturis at shortstop in the coming weeks, as a viable backup for Jose Reyes has yet to be cemented.  Reyes will likely see more rest days and games at DH in 2015, meaning that one of the Blue Jays’ bench players must be suited for the position.  Ryan Goins is the clear-cut fit defensively, but Izturis has brought more talent to the plate throughout his career.

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Given the caution that teams often exercise with injuries during Spring Training, it’s safe to assume that Izturis could at least miss a short amount of time.  If this escalates beyond something that “just needs a day or two”, the door is open for Devon Travis and Ryan Goins to fight it out at second base, with Jonathan Diaz representing some underwhelming depth at the position.

To Goins credit, he has hit .333 through 27 at-bats entering today, but struck out eight times along the way.  While his defense is superior to that of Travis, and most people on the roster for that matter, Travis has shown the ability to man the position without worry.  In my eyes, this decision would have much more to do with Travis than Goins.

If the Jays prefer to leave Devon Travis in the Minor Leagues for additional seasoning before a mid-season call up, this would also increase their roster flexibility.  Goins is on the 40-man roster while Travis is not, but at a certain point, the best 25 need to be the opening 25.

Stay tuned to Jays Journal for an update on the injury to Izturis.  This could be an afterthought by Monday, or open the door to a very interesting battle and yet another rookie starter for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Next: Miguel Castro should be on Opening Day roster

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