Valencia officially joins Blue Jays

Here’s a transcript of today’s media scrum with recently acquired infielder Danny Valencia. On the main bluejays.com site you’ll find the notebook with more on Valencia, plus Gibbons’ approach to the Trade Deadline and Rasmussen getting sent to the Minors:

On going from the AL Central race to one in the AL East…
“It’s a great opportunity here. Obviously this is a tough division, teams that are always really, really tough. I was fortunate enough to play in this division last year with Baltimore and see it on the other side, it’s definitely going to be a fun time and I think this team is going to be great. Im looking forward to helping the Toronto Blue Jays win.”

On traditionally hitting much better vs lefties…
“I was never able to really pinpoint the reasoning why I hit left-handers better. Traditionally your splits should be better against left-handed pitching but I can’t really pinpoint anything. Obviously I feel comfortable in there but it’s one of those things that I carved something out for myself. You want to be able to hit lefties and righties and I feel I can do that pretty well.”

On playing for five organizations in five years…
“The first trade was definitely the toughest to understand because you’re being traded from the organization that you came up with. I’ve been a little surprised to move around as much as I have, obviously everybody wants to stay in one spot and really dig down some roots in one particular place. I’m hoping Toronto is that spot. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in a lot of great places and play on some good teams and I’m really looking forward to this experience.”

On being surprised about the deal…
“We had something good going in Kansas City but I’m happy to be on a team that’s also in a playoff race, it’s always nice to play meaningful games as the year goes on and I’m really, really excited to be here.”

On familiar faces on the Blue Jays…
“I know a good bunch of guys. I played against some coming up, a couple of these guys have been teammates of mine in the past, so I know a pretty good handful and it’s a great bunch of guys and I’m fortunate to come to a team like this.”

On roles in the team…
“We went over it briefly. I’m sure I’ll probably play against left-handed pitching, certainly probably play third base, maybe some first, some DH, I played a little bit during this year at second. Wherever he wants me I’m going to be willing to go.”

Comfort at first?
“I feel fine over there, I’ve played some games at first base before, in the minor leagues I played first base, in college I played first base. I would feel more comfortable maybe playing shortstop.
Transition to platoon? “It’s obviously tough, everybody’s goal is play every single day but at the same time you want to help teams win and you want to be part of teams trying to win World Series. If they need you to do something specific, so be it.”

On the left-hand injury he dealt with earlier this year…
“I took a funny swing at the end of May in Anaheim that sprained my hand a little bit. It was starting to die down a little bit, then I got hit by a pitch in Chicago and it flared up a little bit. I’ve been dealing with it all year, it’s nothing that holds me back or restricts me, but it’s definitely something in the back of my mind, and it’s nothing that’s going to stop me from playing.”

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