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Teoscar gets day off amid defensive struggles

Blue Jays still unsure when Estrada will return to rotation
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Teoscar Hernandez received a rare day out of the starting lineup in Wednesday's 12-6 loss to the Twins as the Blue Jays looked to give him a bit of a mental break following a series of defensive miscues in left field.

Hernandez has experienced more than his fair share of adventures in the outfield this season. He has four errors and there have been plenty other examples of Hernandez losing track of a fly ball or taking a bad route.

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TORONTO -- Teoscar Hernandez received a rare day out of the starting lineup in Wednesday's 12-6 loss to the Twins as the Blue Jays looked to give him a bit of a mental break following a series of defensive miscues in left field.

Hernandez has experienced more than his fair share of adventures in the outfield this season. He has four errors and there have been plenty other examples of Hernandez losing track of a fly ball or taking a bad route.

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The latest example came during Tuesday's 5-0 loss to the Twins when Hernandez dropped a routine fly ball in left that eventually led to a pair of unearned runs. Hernandez isn't in jeopardy of losing his starting job any time soon, but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons did think it was important to give his young outfielder a breather.

Video: MIN@TOR: Mauer reaches as Hernandez drops a fly ball

"Teo and I have talked a number of times," Gibbons said. "He feels bad. Anybody who boots a ball that leads to runs, that wears on everybody. They take it personally, they don't want it to happen, they feel bad. But you have to move on, move on past that and make the next play, get better and keep improving your game.

"You can get in ruts that way too. You start dwelling on it, if you start dwelling on it too much, it's like anything else. I'm not punishing him by any means but he has to get better out there."

Hernandez is tied for 29th among 32 qualified outfielders in the American League with -14 defensive runs saved. Baltimore's Adam Jones (-15) and Trey Mancini (-15) are the only AL outfielders with lower scores, while Hernandez also ranked tied for 183rd of 224 total fielders in outs above average with a -3, per Statcast™.

The lack of defensive fundamentals have been an issue but Hernandez continues to produce at the plate. Hernandez entered play on Wednesday tied for the team lead with 42 extra-base hits, which includes 15 home runs and six triples. His .796 OPS trails only first baseman Justin Smoak, and it's that power that has made Hernandez a permanent presence in the Blue Jays' lineup.

"Sometimes you can see it in guys. Teo is very steady. He's not a real emotional guy," Gibbons said, when asked if Hernandez was able to separate the two elements of his game. "A guy like that, it's hard to tell. But naturally, he's still at that point in his career -- he's young, he wants to do everything well. It would be natural -- I can't say for sure that he is -- but it wouldn't be unheard of ,and it wouldn't make him a bad guy. But you do have to separate it."

Estrada's return up in the air
The Blue Jays still aren't certain when right-hander Marco Estrada will make his return to the rotation. Estrada's rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo was cut short in the fourth inning on Tuesday evening after he developed a blister on his right middle finger. Estrada has been out since July 3 with a strained glute muscle.

Video: NYM@TOR: Estrada leaves the game early in the 1st

Estrada initially was expected to start Sunday's series finale against the White Sox in Chicago. That target date no longer seems realistic, but Gibbons didn't rule out the possibility that he would be healthy enough to pitch by then.

"He's going to meet us in Chicago," Gibbons said. "I hope [he'll be available], but I haven't heard anything yet."

If Estrada is unable to go vs. Chicago, then rookie left-hander Ryan Borucki is expected to get the start in his hometown. Borucki, who started Tuesday's game against the Twins, would be able to make that appearance on normal rest because of Thursday's off-day. The Blue Jays would then potentially bump Estrada back a couple of days to give him more time to recover.

"We could do that any way if we want to give Marco an extra day. That might help him out," Gibbons said. "We're talking about that right now, and it would be kind of neat if [Borucki] pitches there. I know he wants to. Maybe that will work out just perfectly. We'll see."

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, Teoscar Hernandez