Navarro’s Return Elicits Many Smiles in Blue Jays Clubhouse
TORONTO — Just the mention of Dioner Navarro’s return was enough to get any Blue Jay smiling Friday night.
Now part of it might have been the 15 runs the Jays had just put up on the board in a win over the visiting Minnesota Twins, but don’t underestimate the affinity pretty much everyone in that Jays’ clubhouse has for their former teammate, who will join them again Monday in Baltimore.
“I’m excited,” a beaming manager John Gibbons said of the trade which will see Navarro return to Toronto in exchange for minor-league reliever Colton Turner .
“Dino has always been one of my favourites and his teammates love him,” Gibbons said. “I think he will be terribly excited to come back because he really enjoyed his time here.”
It’s no secret Navarro and Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada developed a bond of sorts through the second half of last year when the former became the latter’s everyday catcher. Whether they become a pairing again remains to be seen.
Estrada has pitched well with Russell Martin this year. Estrada said he feels comfortable with Navarro, Martin or Josh Thole catching him.
“I have three now,” a smiling Estrada said of potential battery mates.
“Thole caught me once this year and I thought he did a tremendous job. I am very fortunate to have three guys that I can count on back there. Obviously, at certain times they need a break, but luckily I feel extremely confident with all three of them.”
Gibbons said he hasn’t given it much thought yet, but it’s a decision that will be made at some point in the near future.
“Russ has been great with him too,” Gibbons said of a potential Estrada-Navarro reunion. “(Navarro) can come here and catch any one of our guys on any given day.”
Martin has been a workhouse all year, even catching some day games after a night game with Thole sticking primarily with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
Keeping the Jays starting catcher fresh without giving up too much in the way of offence is something the team will try to do over the course of the final month of the season. Navarro’s return makes that possible.