TORONTO -- For the second time in as many years, a player in the Blue Jays' farm system has been suspended for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Triple-A Buffalo catcher Sean Ochinko was suspended 50 games without pay on Monday after testing positive for an amphetamine.
Ochinko was part of a trio of Minor League players suspended, joining Angels outfielder Brandon Bayardi and Mets pitcher Daniel Huchingson.
Ochinko has split time between Double-A New Hampshire and Buffalo this season, posting a combined .231 average with five home runs, 37 RBIs, a .294 OBP and a .607 OPS in 91 games.
Last season one of the Blue Jays' top prospects, Marcus Stroman, was suspended 50 games for using the banned substance Methylhexaneamine.
Stroman has since put the suspension behind him with an 8-4 record, a 3.22 ERA and 117 strikeouts over 100 2/3 innings in New Hampshire this season.
Gibbons says taking heat comes with the job
TORONTO -- Fairly or unfairly, manager John Gibbons has received more than his share of criticism for the way his club has performed this season.
With the team coming off a 2-8 road trip and on pace to finish the season with 90 losses, the heat has picked up considerably in the local media, but it's something that the two-time skipper just shrugs off and ignores.
"That goes with the business. Everyone gets fired in this business sooner or later," Gibbons said. "It's a tough business. It's a results-oriented business, and you live with that."
The 51-year-old Gibbons is more than accustomed to the pressures of managing in the Major Leagues, and he knows what it's like to be let go, having left his first stint in Toronto in that fashion midway through the 2008 season.
With a team that's drastically underperformed compared with preseason expectations, and for reasons generally out of his control -- including the second-worst starters ERA in the big leagues -- he's aware that people are looking to find blame, but he doesn't get into whether the criticism that finds itself on his shoulders is there justly.
"I don't get into what's fair and what's unfair. It's a tough business." he said. "You're in the arena, so it's open season. So have at it."
Still, that doesn't stop him for analyzing his own performance and whether or not a different decision would have changed the outcome of a game. He goes over every game in his head afterward and admits that, like in any profession or walk of life, there's always room for improvement.
Nevertheless, and despite speculation that continues to gain speed, he refuses to let it weigh on him.
"My life's good," he said. "I enjoy competing every day out there. You play to win that game. In the end, people make decisions on things like that."
Delabar, McGowan show further improvement
TORONTO -- With injuries seemingly mounting by the day, there is some notable progress by a pair of pitchers on the disabled list.
Both Steve Delabar and Dustin McGowan continue to improve and should see some game action in Florida sometime over the next few days.
Delabar pitched a side session on Monday and is scheduled to get into a game on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the oft-injured McGowan should get in a side session on Wednesday and pitch in a game on Friday.
But as has been the case for much of the season, for every step forward, there's a step back, and center fielder Colby Rasmus has experienced a minor setback as he recovers from a strained left oblique.
Rasmus was scheduled to begin baseball activities on Monday but was forced to restrain from doing so due to some lingering soreness.
He is still expected to return this season, but oblique injuries have a tendency to be tricky.
While some move forward and some move back, Josh Johnson remains status quo. The towering right-hander, who was placed on the 15-day DL on Aug. 7, visited Dr. James Andrews on Friday and was told by the noted surgeon to avoid throwing for a couple of weeks.
Gibbons dismisses criticism of fundamentals
TORONTO -- When it comes to examining the Blue Jays' season, fundamentals is one of the major points of criticism, but that's not something that manager John Gibbons buys into.
"I've been with six organizations, and everybody [practices] the same in baseball. It's always been the same," Gibbons said.
With every team following essentially the same regimented schedule, one typically doesn't spend any extra time on fundamentals than any other.
Although if there's one thing that Gibbons feels is a concern this year, it's too many offline throws from the outfield.
But the biggest issue, simply, is a rotation that has not lived up to expectations. The Blue Jays are second to last in the Majors in ERA, and has the third fewest innings thrown from their starters.
"We've taken our lumps in the starting rotation," Gibbons said. "Defensively, we've made some errors, but I think what's hurt us is a lot of balls we didn't get to that don't turn into errors. Melky [Cabrera] was a little banged up in left field, so he wasn't getting to a lot of balls, and that effected our pitching. Some balls up the middle of the infield, we didn't get to. It's not always an error, [but] it's the balls that you don't get to that you need to get to."
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.