Barney making most of playing time while he can

May 22nd, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- Blue Jays infielder Darwin Barney knows he probably won't be an everyday player any time soon. Regular at-bats likely aren't coming his way, especially as Devon Travis gets closer to rejoining the team off a rehab assignment.

Still, Barney has made an impact when in the lineup this season.

Known for his strong glove, Barney's offense has been a pleasant surprise through 45 games, and it earned him more playing time on Sunday in the finale of a four-game series against the Twins at Target Field.

The diminutive Barney, who broke in with the Cubs in 2010, played in 440 games with Chicago from 2011-13, but just 111 the last two seasons, including 17 last year with the Dodgers and Blue Jays.

Barney has already surpassed that total this season, playing in his 26th game on Sunday.

"My job is to be ready to go whenever my name is called," Barney said. "Someone goes down at the last second, I gotta be ready."

Barney is off to a great start at the plate, entering Sunday hitting .333 and reaching base at a .373 clip. He's even chipped in with a pair of homers, including a solo blast on Friday after entering as a defensive replacement.

A more consistent approach has been the key for Barney, who has spent time with hitting coach Brook Jacoby and assistant hitting coach Eric Owens on being more patient and prepared.

"Trust," Barney said, "to walk up to the plate with a plan and trust my mechanics. I just gotta continue to do that and stay with the routine."

Between Barney, Ryan Goins and Jimmy Paredes, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has plenty of options at second base. When Travis returns, likely around June 1, playing time could come be even more sporadic for Barney.

That's why he's trying to take advantage of it when he can. Regardless of what happens when Travis comes back, Barney has put himself in position to have an important role on the club coming off the bench, one Barney feels comfortable with.

"Consistent at-bats is one thing, but in my position, I have to be ready to get at-bats sporadically, here and there," Barney said. "We'll see. It is what it is. I gotta try and help this team win whenever my name is called."

Worth noting

• The Blue Jays activated right-hander Bo Schultz from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday and optioned him to Triple-A Buffalo.

Schultz had surgery over the offseason on the labrum in his hip, and he posted a 12.91 ERA during his rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin, Double-A New Hampshire and Buffalo.

Schultz pitched in 31 games for Toronto last season, posting a 3.56 ERA with 31 strikeouts over 43 innings.