There’s no time like the present for Maicer Izturis.
The Toronto Blue Jays utility man is taking full advantage of it too, given that the team’s infield situation is in a bit of a state of flux at the moment. Third baseman Brett Lawrie is still in the middle of his rehab stint in the minors and will be due to return to the bigs shortly, which means that the rotation of Izturis, Mark DeRosa, Emilio Bonifacio and fan favourite Munenori Kawasaki will soon have to come to a close.
And by the way he’s come alive at the plate recently, I think it’s fair to say that Izturis really hoping to be the last man standing when this carousel comes to a full stop.
It was always going to be his job to lose, of course, as he was the favoured candidate going into the 2013 season over Bonifacio. That was before Kawasaki showed up, however, and whether it’s provided motivation or not, it’s only recently that the 32-year-old Izturis is finally earning his $3 million keep from the bluebirds.
In short, the former member of the Los Angeles Angels has caught fire.
Including Sunday’s 1-for-4 performance in a Blue Jays rout over the Minnesota Twins, the veteran is making a pretty good case for a slight promotion from the bottom of the order, extending his hitting streak to five games. He’s only failed to record a hit out of seven games he’s played in July, giving him a .375/.407/.375 triple-slash over a SSS 24 PA that demonstrates effectiveness, if not power.
Moreover, he’s turn around his plate discipline numbers for the first time this season, having struck out just once for a 3.7 percent K rate to give him more walks (two) than he does strikeouts (baby steps, I know).
Now, it’s likely that Izturis’ contract alone (he’s owed $3 million each year through the 2015 season) would have kept him on the Blue Jays over Kawasaki anyway; that said, he’s at least re-established himself within the team’s depth chart as the favourite to get everyday time at second base, and to maintain full-time at-bats due to his versatility even after Lawrie’s return.
Considering that the production between him and fellow newcomer Bonifacio had been all but a total loss this season, the team will be happy to take what it can get, and Izturis’ recent hot streak is a timely boon that helped Toronto to a series win over the weekend … one single at a time.