Toronto Blue Jays' Injuries Have Prevented Team from Finding Hitting Rhythm

Nathan ColeCorrespondent IApril 25, 2011

Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill has recently been placed on the 15-day DL.
Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill has recently been placed on the 15-day DL.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays started off the year with their named closer Frank Francisco and their second starter Brandon Morrow on the DL.

After that came their recently acquired centre fielder Rajai Davis, who went down with a leg injury. Aaron Hill, their second baseman, was working through a hamstring injury in spring training and then re-injured it stealing a base.

The names kept coming; Jayson Nix hurt his knee, Edwin Encarnacion damaged his wrist, Yunel Escobar suffered a minor concussion and Davis re-injured himself.

The Jays also came into the year with several new starters, a new manager and a new philosophy on the attack. They have already struggled to put their new baserunning strategy into play at times, but the constant injuries and the resulting shuffling of the lineup hasn't allowed them to settle into a rhythm.

This discomfort has shown in the early stages of the season with their struggles to score runs. It isn't that they haven't been hitting at all or getting the walks, it is the key hits that are lacking.

The key single when runners are in scoring position, or the home run when the bases are full, rather than empty. 

The main argument for this point is how often Jose Bautista comes up to the plate with no runners on. Bautista is already having a tremendous season, with a .359 AVG, eight home runs and an impressive 19 walks in 18 games.

But what is telling is that he still only has 11 RBI so far this season, suggesting that he has only knocked in three runners that weren't himself.

As the Jays return to active duty, the batting order should settle down and the results should begin to show. The Jays need Hill to return and rediscover some of his form from the 2009 season, as he is a crucial power component in the heart of the lineup.  

Davis should regain his place at the leadoff position when he returns, and he needs to concentrate on getting on base so that Escobar and Bautista have something to work with.

Encarnacion was just starting to heat up when he hurt his wrist, but that should only be a temporary setback.

For the team to be competitive in the AL East, they need their full lineup healthy and hitting.

The Jays' pitchers have struggled so far, so until they settle down, they need the bats working to stay close to the division leaders.