Farrell swaps Escobar, Johnson in lineup

Farrell swaps Escobar, Johnson in lineup

Farrell swaps Escobar, Johnson in lineup
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made a switch to the lineup for their series-ending game with Texas, swapping Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson in the batting order, and it seemed to pay off.

Johnson hit a two-run homer, his sixth of the year, and Escobar went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two extra-base hits in Toronto's 11-5 victory.

After Escobar hit .217 with a .257 on-base percentage over 106 at-bats out of the leadoff spot entering the game, manager John Farrell decided to make the change.

"It's something we looked at in Spring Training," Farrell said. "Hopefully it gives Kelly [Johnson] a chance to get on base a little more frequently, and then we have the option to do some things behind him with Yunel's ability to handle the bat."

Farrell wouldn't commit as to whether this would be a permanent move, but it's something that he's discussed recently, and on-base percentage is a quality he values greatly. Johnson's .377 OBP is tops on the team among all Blue Jays starters.

There were a few other changes to the lineup Wednesday, but it had more to do with the Blue Jays playing a day game following a night contest and the particular matchup.

Lefties Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus were given the day off as the Rangers started southpaw Matt Harrison, who has held left-handers to a .094 average over 32 at-bats entering play Wednesday. Ben Francisco was the designated hitter with Encarnacion shifting over to first base, and Rajai Davis got the start in center.

That moved seemed to pay dividends also, as Francisco collected a pair of base hits and reached base three times, while Davis went 1-for-2 with two runs scored.

Davis was forced to leave the game in the fifth, however, with what Farrell described as a strained left hip flexor.

"[He was] examined after the game, there's no deficiencies or indents that sometimes a muscle pull can indicate," Farrell said. "He's day to day at this point."

Prior to Wednesday's game, Farrell spoke about how impressed he is with what Davis brings to the team.

"He can play all three outfield positions and gives our bench a lot of flexibility," Farrell said. "Whether he's used late in the game as pinch-runner, against some lefties -- he's always prepared, and the ability to play all outfield positions is a strength of his, and it gives us some versatility.

"We've got the ability to use him to match up in certain situations, but then when he's not in the starting lineup, he can be a weapon coming off the bench in a number of different ways."