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Despite issues, Gibbons sees defense as strength

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' early defensive woes have been well documented, highlighted by a couple of lapses in Saturday's contest that cost the team a victory, but manager John Gibbons believes that team defense is a strength.

"I think when it's all said and done in the end, that'll be one of our strengths," Gibbons said.

However there are no delusions about the team's issues defensively to begin the season.

"No doubt about it [we've had poor execution on defense]," Gibbons said. "And it's got to get better."

The defense on Saturday allowed the Yankees to score four of their runs, and an additional two in Friday's contest that proved to be the turning point.

"To be honest, I don't think it's a big concern; it's cost us, but we've got a good defensive team," Gibbons said.

Certainly 18 games into the year doesn't tell the tale of a long season, but the impact that it's having is what's concerning. Coupled with Toronto's slow start, the significance of these mistakes is exaggerated.

Eleven errors isn't overly alarming -- Toronto's on pace to best last season's total -- but the manner in which they are happening, in key situations, is.

Before Sunday's series finale against the Yankees, Gibbons couldn't classify whether his team's defensive woes were the result of physical errors or mental lapses, simply referring to them as "just mistakes."

The Blue Jays haven't been doing any additional work in the field outside of taking grounders during batting practice, nor are there any plans to. Gibbons believes that everything will eventually progress to the mean.

"Mistakes happen in baseball," Gibbons said. "Things are just magnified right now."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for
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