ARLINGTON, Texas – J.P. Arencibia was a busy man on Friday afternoon, unable to find the time to speak to the Toronto media between advanced meetings and his pregame workout and batting practice routine.
The brief reunion between Arencibia and the club that drafted him, this three-game weekend series at Globe Life Park, marks the first opportunity for the former catcher of the future to address public comments he made about the Blue Jays during a March media scrum at the Rangers' spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona.
"That has nothing to do with us," said manager John Gibbons, who added he wasn't previous aware of Arencibia's comments. "We wish him well. He's a good guy. He comes to play everyday. I can't get caught up in that."
Arencibia seemed to spare no one and nothing, offering comment on what he perceived to be the Blue Jays' misplaced priorities.
"There's not a lot of riff-raff going on except for baseball stuff," he said. "It's cool. It's refreshing to be part of something that is really baseball emphasized."
The clubhouse leadership got addressed.
"Elvis (Andrus), (Adrian) Beltre, you have these guys who are leaders and have been around for a while, they make it easy," Arencibia said at the time. "It's not like you come in here and you're walking on egg shells."
If he's more comfortable in his new surroundings, the results aren't showing it.
Entering Friday's play, Arencibia had appeared in fewer than half of Texas' games (19), and was hitting a measly .140/.190/.246 with one home run.
This off a disastrous 2013, Arencibia's last in Toronto, during which hit for a .194 batting average and posted a meager on-base plus slugging percentage of .592 despite hitting 21 home runs. He was non-tendered by the Blue Jays in the offseason and signed a one-year deal with Texas in free agency.
The Rangers are missing their starting catcher, Geovany Soto, and don't expect him back from a knee injury until later in June. In the meantime, Arencibia is splitting the catching duties with Robinson Chirinos, a one-time Chicago Cubs prospect who spent the better part of a decade in the minor leagues.
There is talk around Arlington that when Soto comes back, Arencibia will be the odd man out.
Arencibia is, by nature, a sensitive individual who seemed to read and hear everything critical written and said about him. He took it to heart.
That same personality trait affected his relationship with members of the Blue Jays' organization. Coaches would offer advice, try to help, but he would perceive constructive criticism as personal slight.
Toronto decided Arencibia was no longer the right fit. Despite that, Gibbons still believes Arencibia can forge a successful big league career but he has some advice.
"It's the ability to make some adjustments," said Gibbons. "He can do that. I've seen him do it but he's got to be committed to it, you know. With J.P., he's still on the younger side of this game so he's got the time."
INJURIES IN BASEBALL
If you're a baseball fan in Toronto, you've likely got at least one friend who isn't and who enjoys pointing out how "soft" baseball players are when it comes to injuries.
You've heard it; the old "Hockey player takes a puck in the mouth and doesn't miss a shift but the baseball player tweaks his hamstring and misses three weeks" routine.
One player who's spent time on the disabled list this season suggested to TSN.ca last week that if people felt the aches and pains baseball players do on a daily basis, they'd be visiting their doctor's office on a regular basis.
"Canada's the wrong place to say it because you've got hockey," said manager John Gibbons. "Those guys break a leg and they're still playing so there's probably not a lot of sympathy on that end of it."
Baseball, obviously, is a different sport. It's stop and start, which can wreak havoc on muscles that are in use one moment and then not again for a number of minutes. There aren't intentionally violent collisions. Remember, too, the Blue Jays play on Astroturf, which has improved over the years but remains a thick rug blanketing a concrete surface.
"The toughest part about baseball is it's everyday," said Gibbons. "You're banged up and a certain part of it is skill. If you're a pitcher or something like that, if you're hurting, you can't perform because you've got to throw a baseball or something like that."
NAVARRO TO RETURN ON SATURDAY
Catcher Dioner Navarro, who's been on the bereavement/family emergency list since Wednesday, will return in time for the second game of the Blue Jays' three-game series in Texas.
The club will make a corresponding roster move prior to the game.
One week ago, Chris Getz was a Toronto Blue Jay. Today, he's a former baseball player, having formally announced his retirement.
"He called me the other day and he told me it's something he's been contemplating anyway," said manager John Gibbons. "He's a smart cookie. Getzy's got it all together. He ended up getting his five years in but it was something that was kind of stewing with him a little bit because in the last couple of years he's been up and down."
Getz and his wife are expecting a baby. He was designated for assignment on Sunday to accommodate Casey Janssen's activation from the disabled list.
The 30-year-old played 459 career games for three teams (Chicago White Sox, Kansas City, and Toronto), hitting .250/.309/.307 with 50 doubles and 89 stolen bases.