Arencibia Hopes To Stick In 2011

TORONTO — J.P. Arencibia could get his chance to catch on with the major league team in 2011.

Arencibia got some big league time last year, but will have to fight to win a spot over newly-acquired Mike Napoli and Jose Molina, who served as backup to the departed John Buck last season.

Arencibia received an emergency callup from Triple-A Las Vegas in 2010 when Buck hit the disabled list with a thumb injury. In a spectacular major league debut, the 2007 first-round pick out of Tennessee went 4-for-5 with two home runs and three RBIs in a 17-11 win against the Rays.

He returned to Las Vegas on Aug. 20, where he completed a season in which he hit .301/.359/.626 with 32 homers and 85 RBIs before returning to Toronto as a September callup. He appeared in 10 more big league games and went 1- for-30 with one RBI.

"When you play sporadically like that it's a battle," Arencibia said. "It was something where I wasn't getting at-bats and playing every day, and ultimately I had to learn from watching and being around the guys, and from asking questions.
"I really tried to soak up as much as I could because I know there is an opportunity for me to be the guy. And hopefully the little things I learned last year I'll be able to use this year."

Arencibia, 25, has been working on his conditioning and carefully watching his diet in the offseason as well as studying video of Blue Jays pitchers. He said he is confident that he is ready for the  majors.

"I know the kind of player I am, I know what I bring to the table. The Blue Jays know what I bring to the table," he said.

"We think J.P. Arencibia is going to be a very good player," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.

"He's a young player, he's unproven, but we think he's done everything he can in the minor leagues. We do believe he deserves an opportunity at the major league level. Whether that ends up being as a starter, a part-time player or a backup, that remains to be seen."


• Lefthander Wil Ledezma accepted an assignment to Las Vegas after being claimed on waivers from the Pirates. He received a non-roster invite to big league spring training.

• Righthander Chad Cordero, 28, was signed to a minor  league contract with an invitation to spring training. He appeared in nine games for the Mariners in 2010.