Gib­bons fo­cus­ing on the pre­sent

Blue Jays’ front of­fice looks to 2018, but man­ager still has his eye on this sea­son

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY NEIL DAVID­SON

Blue Jays gen­eral man­ager Ross Atkins may be look­ing to next sea­son, but man­ager John Gib­bons is still fo­cused on 2017.

Speak­ing to re­porters Mon­day, a week ahead of the July 31 trade dead­line, Atkins ac­knowl­edged that the win­dow for a third straight play­off ap­pear­ance was get­ting smaller. His in­ter­est is ac­quir­ing young, con­trol­lable tal­ent to help the team next sea­son.

Asked what he took from that mes­sage, Gib­bons of­fered lit­tle. “That’s not my de­part­ment,” he said prior to Tues­day’s game against Oak­land. “All I know is the plan is we want to put a good team on the field next year. I’m wor­ried about this year. This year’s not over yet.

“It’s all about win­ning,” he added. “But I stay out of that ac­qui­si­tions thing. I worry about what goes on the field.”

The Jays were 45-54 go­ing into Tues­day night’s game against the Ath­let­ics but still draw­ing good crowds.

Av­er­age home at­ten­dance has been 39,644 this sea­son with 11 sell­outs de­spite the fact the Jays have been swim­ming up­stream since a 2-11 start.

“Noth­ing bet­ter than go­ing to a big-league ball game,” said Gib­bons. “And we’ve got an en­ter­tain­ing team.

“At this stage of the sea­son we’re not where we want to be ob­vi­ously but it’s still good en­ter­tain­ment. There’s two months left. We’ll see where we end up. But it makes a huge dif­fer­ence when (the fans) do come out.”

The Jays were forced to make an­other move Tues­day, mak­ing pitcher Danny Barnes their 26th en­try on the dis­abled list this sea­son. On the plus side, the move to the 10-day dis­abled list is not seen as se­ri­ous

“We don’t think it is a big deal,” said Gib­bons. “But he’s been pitch­ing a heck of a lot, that’s for sure. It’s a lit­tle im­pinge­ment in (the right shoul­der) ... Let him rest up, he should be good to go in 10 days.”

Barnes has ap­peared in 37 games this sea­son, with a 2-3 record in 43.2 in­nings pitched.

Left-han­der Matt Der­mody was re­called.

In other per­son­nel news, pitcher Jeff Be­liv­eau cleared waivers and was out­righted to triple-A Buffalo.

CP PHOTO

Toronto Blue Jays man­ager John Gib­bons watches from the dugout be­fore a game against the Kansas City Roy­als on in Kansas City, Mo.

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