Carrera makes impact on both sides of ball

With Bautista on DL, right fielder homers, executes impressive play

Carrera makes impact on both sides of ball

BALTIMORE -- One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity -- at least, that's the case with Blue Jays outfielder Ezequiel Carrera.

Carrera became Toronto's everyday right fielder when Jose Bautista was placed on the disabled list on Friday with a hyperextended left big toe. The following day, Carrera made his presence felt on both sides of the ball in the Blue Jays' 4-2 loss to the Orioles.

The 29-year-old hit a solo home run in the third inning and also made a spectacular play in right field in the bottom of that frame to keep the Blue Jays within striking distance. It started with a nice leaping grab at the wall to rob the O's Adam Jones, but even more impressive was that he quickly fired the ball back to first base to record a double play.

Carrera's solo homer

"Oh gosh, it doesn't get any better than that," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "To throw it from that distance, on the money, that's pretty impressive."

Carrera has been one of the club's surprise performers this year. He hasn't received a lot of playing time, but more often than not, when Carrera has been in the lineup, something positive has followed.

The native of Venezuela is batting .326 with an .859 OPS in 95 at-bats this season. It's hard to imagine he'll be able to maintain that type of productivity, but Carrera will at least have an opportunity to try with Bautista out until July.

Carrera's presence in the lineup also provides the Blue Jays with a more traditional leadoff hitter. Bautista had been filling that spot since the middle of May, but Carrera has the ability to generate some runs with his speed. He just needs to get on base, and so far, in a small sample size, he has been able to do that.

"I'm just going to take advantage of it and take advantage of the manager giving me confidence to go out there and play," Carrera said through an interpreter. "I'm going to go out there and play as hard as I can every day."

Carrera's highlight-reel grab on Saturday afternoon came two innings after he was unable to make a catch on a similar play to right. Manny Machado hit one off the wall in the first, and Carrera nearly came up with it, but he appeared to make an adjustment when given a second oppportunity later in the game.

"What was so good about it was it was almost a carbon copy of the play before," Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey said. "He would probably admit that he could have played a little bit better and executed it. He made the adjustment. The part that was so special about it was the throw. A one-hopper right to [Justin] Smoak. The catch was good, but what was so incredible was the throw."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.