It was one-and-done for Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jonathan Diaz in the Boston Red Sox organization. After spending the 2013 season mostly with the PawSox, he is back where he feels he belongs—with the Blue Jays organization.
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“It feels like home,” Diaz said of playing in the Blue Jays system. “I know a lot of the people here, I feel very comfortable and it’s good to be back here.”
Nine out of his ten pro seasons have come with the Blue Jays organization, so it is fair to say not only is he comfortable with them, but they are comfortable with him.
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When former Blue Jays manager John Farrell was traded to the Red Sox the same year Diaz became a free agent, he took a leap of faith and followed in the big league skipper’s footsteps—to Boston.
“I could have signed back with the Blue Jays, but I knew (John) Farrell, (Brian) Butterfield and (Torey) Lovullo from two big league camps the previous years,” he said. “That was part of my decision since they knew what I was about, they were comfortable with me. I think that allowed me to get a chance in the big leagues that year.”
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Plagued by injuries in the infield, the Red Sox called Diaz up to help fill the void at third base early in the season, making his MLB debut at 28 years old. He played in five games for Boston, primarily as a defensive replacement and scored two runs as a pinch runner. While his contributions did not appear to be game-changing, manager John Farrell raved about Diaz’ abilities in the field. It goes without saying that Farrell was a little disappointed when Diaz went back to Toronto—although he had a better opportunity in Canada.
Since Diaz logged big league time with the Red Sox in 2013, he earned himself a World Series ring, albeit he was not on the postseason roster.
“It’s pretty crazy to think I got called up and only played for a week,” Diaz said. “it almost feels undeserved, especially with so many big leaguers that played so long and never got one. But it is definitely something special that I’ll cherish forever.”
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Anyone and everyone who makes the slightest contribution to a big league team gets a ring and it is fair to say he contributed more than a handful of guys who got a ring. After all, pitcher Brayan Villarreal got a ring and he threw just four pitches for Boston that season. He walked San Francisco Giants infielder Marco Scutaro which drove in the game winning run for the San Francisco Giants.
Lifetime, Diaz is a .143 hitter in 28 big league games, but he has yet to commit an error in 50 opportunities. Defense is his strong point, but that does not mean he is going to stop trying to get better. Now an infielder for the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays AAA affiliate), the 30-year-old still hopes to get better every day.
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“I try to continue to improve in every aspect of my game,” he said. “I just try to put up good at-bats and make plays for our pitcher. I’m just trying to help the team win— I’m a team guy.”