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Blue Jays rarely utilize sacrifice bunts

September 14, 2018

NEW YORK -- Yes, John Gibbons says, the Blue Jays do have a bunt sign. But he's chuckling as he says so, because of how rarely they've used it.Gibbons, obviously, is well aware of the minimal impact the bunt has played itself into the Blue Jays' season. But he giggled

NEW YORK -- Yes, John Gibbons says, the Blue Jays do have a bunt sign. But he's chuckling as he says so, because of how rarely they've used it.
Gibbons, obviously, is well aware of the minimal impact the bunt has played itself into the Blue Jays' season. But he giggled Friday when learning the scope of their aversion for it. With two weeks to play, Toronto is on a never-before-seen pace in regards to one specific type of bunt, in particular -- the sacrifice. Specifically, how few they've put down.
"Not that I'm anti-bunt, by any means," Gibbons said, "but this is a little extreme."
Historically so. The Blue Jays entered play Friday having put down four successful sacrifices this season. If the season ended today, that would mark the lowest total since sacrifice bunts began to be recorded in 1894.
For context: One year, when Gibbons was in the Minor Leagues, he sacrificed four times all by himself.
"We have the sign," Gibbons joked, "but nobody knows it."
The Blue Jays, of course, are not alone in abandoning the bunt. As teams have ramped up the use of analytics to drive in-game decisions, the sacrifice bunt has spent the last decade falling out of favor league-wide. The twenty-five lowest totals ever recorded have all come since 2000.
This year, big league teams have combined to put down just 755 sacrifice bunts entering play Friday, 170 fewer than the all-time low of 925 set last season. That number reset the record, which had reached another low point the year prior as well.
The Blue Jays aren't even a lock to set the record: The Red Sox (6), A's (6) and Angels (7) are all contenders in this very 21st century field. Those would represent the four lowest totals in MLB history, should they stand through September.
Roster moves
The Blue Jays made two roster moves prior to Friday's series opener at Yankee Stadium, activating right-hander Joe Biagini (disabled list) and catcher/infielder Russell Martin (paternity list).
Biagini returns to Toronto's bullpen after spending two weeks on the DL with a left oblique strain. Martin had been away from the team to be with his girlfriend, Elisabeth Chicoine. The couple recently had their first child, a girl, Eva. Martin last played Sept. 3.
Toronto now has 36 players on its active roster.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.