Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Blue Jays Infielder Gurriel Making the Most out of Demotion to Triple-A

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Blue Jays Infielder Gurriel Making the Most out of Demotion to Triple-A

Article excerpt

Gurriel not letting demotion bring him down


BUFFALO, N.Y. - Lourdes Gurriel Jr. strums his bat like a guitar to the music blaring from the loud speakers while he waits his turn in batting practice.

When the Backstreet Boys hit "I Want It That Way" comes on, he and Buffalo Bisons teammate Cavan Biggio take turns singing some of the lyrics out loud.

There's hardly anyone around to see this pre-game show -- it's triple-A, after all -- but despite being demoted from the Blue Jays big league team nearly three weeks ago, it seems Gurriel hasn't lost his upbeat attitude.

"It's not different, I don't feel different here than I did in Toronto," Gurriel said through a translator before a Bisons game this week. "One thing I try to do is always just enjoy the time that I'm here."

The young Cuban infielder, with his signature hair that sticks straight up like leaves on a pineapple, has become known for his cheerful personality around the Blue Jays clubhouse.

But Gurriel had been struggling with Toronto's big league team this season, both in the field and at the plate, before his demotion on April 15. He was hitting just .175 through 12 games and was taken out his last game -- an 8-4 loss to Tampa Bay on April 13 -- after committing his second throwing error in as many days.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after that game that Gurriel was "struggling mentally with his throwing." A trip to Buffalo, the team hoped, would bring back the confidence that Gurriel had lost somewhere along the way.

"Every player when they bring you into the office and tell you you have to go down (to the minor leagues), it's a little different feeling," Gurriel said this week.

"They told me to come over here and keep working on stuff I needed to work on and basically recover that confidence."

While the errors looked damning, and the batting average was well below where he would have liked it to be, the 25-year-Gurriel felt he was starting to turn things around at the plate before he was optioned to triple-A. …

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