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Izturis earns extra playing time

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Maicer Izturis has started to earn some additional playing time but the Blue Jays aren't quite prepared to name him the everyday second baseman.

Izturis began the year in a platoon at second base with Ryan Goins. The plan was for Izturis to start games against left-handers while Goins got the playing time when a right-hander was on the mound.

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TORONTO -- Maicer Izturis has started to earn some additional playing time but the Blue Jays aren't quite prepared to name him the everyday second baseman.

Izturis began the year in a platoon at second base with Ryan Goins. The plan was for Izturis to start games against left-handers while Goins got the playing time when a right-hander was on the mound.

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The strategy now appears to be changing two weeks into the season as Izturis has been one of the Blue Jays' most productive hitters. Izturis got the start vs a righty on Wednesday night but manager John Gibbons doesn't want to say the Blue Jays have made any final determinations on future playing time.

"I'm not ready to say that," Gibbons said when asked if Izturis was his starting second baseman. "Izturis gives you some offense and some defense, Goins is a defensive specialist and we think he's going to hit enough. He's off to a slow start but I expect him to improve on that. Right now we're just playing the hot hand."

Izturis entered play on Thursday night with multiple hits in five of his seven games this season. He leads the club with a .455 (10-for-22) batting average and has been promoted to the No. 2 spot of the batting order while Jose Reyes is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

Goins has seen his 2014 season get off to a rocky start at the plate. He has just one hit in 19 at-bats and at times has looked lost in the batter's box. The Blue Jays were never expecting a whole lot of offensive production out of Goins, but they also need more than they've been getting so far.

Gibbons insists they expect Goins to eventually turn things around so the starting job doesn't necessarily belong to Izturis. But, for now, Toronto will go with the hot bat and when there's a need for better defense up the middle that's when the club will turn to Goins.

"If we had more guys in the lineup that were swinging it a little bit more, if we were hot as a team, we might go the other way just for the defense," Gibbons said. "Kind of figure, at this particular time, what does the team need."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.

Toronto Blue Jays, Maicer Izturis