TORONTO -- One of John Farrell's top priorities when he took over as the Blue Jays' manager in the fall of 2010 was to implement a more aggressive baserunning style.
Under the guidance of former manager Cito Gaston, Toronto played more of a station-to-station game and often sat back waiting for the home run or big inning to score runs.
Farrell wanted to put more pressure on opposing teams by taking the extra base whenever possible, and one of the concessions associated with that was the risk of also running into more outs.
"It was to be more diverse and to not be predictable or one-dimensional," Farrell said. "With that, there are some inherent aggressiveness risks that you're willing to take. [I'm] certainly not backing off of that."
The downside to the aggressive play is that the Blue Jays rank third in unforced errors on the basepaths with 98. They trail only San Diego (106) and Tampa Bay (102) -- two teams which implement a similar style of play.
On the surface, that seems like a high number, but Farrell believes the stats tell only one side of the story. The argument for an aggressive style is that it also puts more pressure on opposing pitchers and creates more opportunities to score by forcing other teams into making mistakes on the field.
In this case, Farrell believes the pros outweigh the cons and doesn't plan on asking his team to stop forcing the issue, except in certain situations inside of a given game.
"We know that we're probably going to run into more outs," Farrell said, "so we're fully accepting that in plays, whether it's going first-to-third -- where we're forcing the outfielder to make an accurate throw -- that's a risk we're fully accepting.
"Are there other plays that happen that are unforced errors that shouldn't take place? Yeah, there's a distinct line where an accepted aggressive out comes into play versus others."
One of those situations took place during Friday night's 8-5 loss to the Red Sox. Brett Lawrie was thrown out while attempting to advance to third base on a ground ball to shortstop Jose Iglesias during the eighth inning.
It was a mental error and Farrell admitted after the game that Lawrie was trying "to force it. ... He should have held his ground." It's the type of learning opportunity that is bound to surface with an inexperienced club, and the Blue Jays hope to become better for it in the long run.
"After discussion he recognizes in the moment as aggressive of a player as he is, sometimes that gets the better of him," Farrell said.
"That's the way he's wired. We can't give him something that's going to change him as a person. We have to continue to teach and point out situations where you have to think the game before just aggressively reacting."
Relegated to third on depth chart, Torrealba gets start
TORONTO -- Veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba received a rare start behind the plate on Saturday afternoon against the Red Sox.
Torrealba, who joined the Blue Jays on a Minor League deal in August, has seen his playing time drastically cut since J.P. Arencibia returned from the disabled list on Sept. 7.
Arencibia's return moved Torrealba out of his timeshare with fellow catcher Jeff Mathis and into the role as a third-string player. But Torrealba was back behind the plate against Boston as manager John Farrell looked for a spark on offense.
"The fact is, he has been very good against right-handed pitching in his career and even this year," Farrell said. "Looking for any way we can increase our offensive output and he's a very capable catcher."
Torrealba, who is a free agent at the end of the season, entered play on Saturday hitting .238 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 58 games this season. He is a career .258 hitter over parts of 12 seasons in the Major Leagues.
Arencibia is expected to be back behind the plate with right-hander Brandon Morrow on the mound for Sunday's series finale against the Red Sox.
When Boston's Daniel Nava hit a two-run single in the fifth inning of Friday night's game, it ended a streak of 19 consecutive scoreless frames by the Blue Jays' bullpen. Prior to that, the bullpen had not given up a run since the ninth inning of a Sept. 7 victory at Fenway Park. Since July 30, Toronto's relief staff ranks first in the American League with 140 strikeouts over 146 1/3 innings.