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Drury hungry to turn around season in Toronto

MLB.com @gregorMLB

CHICAGO -- Not many Major Leaguers would be happy about getting traded from the postseason-contending Yankees to the rebuilding Blue Jays, but Brandon Drury appears to be an exception.

Drury was hoping for a fresh start after a frustrating six-month stint in New York, and he'll have it in Toronto. For a guy who has spent most of the year bouncing between the Minors and the big leagues, he welcomed the change with open arms.

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CHICAGO -- Not many Major Leaguers would be happy about getting traded from the postseason-contending Yankees to the rebuilding Blue Jays, but Brandon Drury appears to be an exception.

Drury was hoping for a fresh start after a frustrating six-month stint in New York, and he'll have it in Toronto. For a guy who has spent most of the year bouncing between the Minors and the big leagues, he welcomed the change with open arms.

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The 25-year-old didn't know for sure that he would get dealt before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but he heard the rumors and hoped something would come to fruition. It did on Thursday afternoon when the Blue Jays traded lefty J.A. Happ to New York for Drury and Minor League outfielder Billy McKinney.

Video: KC@NYY: Yankees acquire Happ in 3-player trade

"It's been a really, really frustrating season and it hasn't been easy for me," Drury said on Friday afternoon. "To come over here to Toronto, I feel like it's a fresh new start. I feel like that's something I needed. I'm really excited about it. I love playing in Toronto, and I'm ready to go."

Drury was held out of the Blue Jays' starting lineup on Friday night as the club gave him a little time to acclimatize to his new surroundings. Toronto said Drury will get a lot of playing time over the final two months of the season, but his exact role still remains uncertain.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he would not hesitate to use Drury all over the field. He's going to get some time at second, third and likely even the corner outfield spots. Defensive versatility has been Drury's calling card during the first four years of his career, and while long-term the native of Oregon said his best position was third, he is willing to embrace whatever role the Toronto has in store.

Video: BOS@NYY: Drury robs Moreland with a diving play

Gibbons' biggest challenge over the next few weeks will be finding a way to make sure everyone gets enough playing time. Toronto has a crowded mix of infielders, with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Devon Travis, Yangervis Solarte, Aledmys Diaz alongside Drury, and factoring in the eventual return of injured third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Trading Solarte in the coming days would help shore things up, but for now, the Blue Jays will mix and match. Drury will get plenty of opportunities, but he might not play every day.

"[Drury] is here to play," Gibbons said. "I've talked to all of the other infielders, too. It's going to cut into everybody's playing time a little bit, because we want to make sure they all play. He'll play some third base, some second base, possibly some outfield. Not necessarily every day, but he'll be in there a lot. Can't play them all every day."

Video: NYY@TOR: Drury knocks in 2 on double to center

The Yankees acquired Drury during the offseason as part of a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks and Rays. At the time, Drury was excited about the move and envisioned suiting up in the pinstripes on a regular basis. Unfortunately for the 13th-round Draft pick, it never happened.

Drury broke camp with New York, but lasted just eight games before he hit the disabled list, and was later optioned to the Minors. He returned in late June, but appeared in just 18 games this season. Most of his action came at Triple-A Scranton, where Drury hit .294/.403/.447 in 55 games.

"Overall, I think it's going to make me a better player," Drury said. "Just going through that, being a guy who was in the big leagues, I was a decent player for a few years, to go through all of that, get sent down twice, after having a bit of success in the big leagues previously, it wasn't easy on me.

"Going through that, for this year, it has been tough on me, but I feel like it has made me even hungrier and even more ready to go out and do what I need to do."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays