After making the Blue Jays out of spring training as their fourth outfielder, Mike McCoy played six positions this season for Toronto.
But after getting only 50 at-bats in 28 games, he was sent down to Las Vegas on June 21 to get steady playing time.
"They haven't seen me play too much, so they want to see what they've got. They don't want me to sit the bench and get 80 at-bats," McCoy said Saturday before going 4-for-6 for the 51s in their 11-9 loss to the Reno Aces at Cashman Field. "I wasn't upset. The paycheck's nice (in the majors), but I like to play. I play to play.
"Hopefully I'm back up soon."
McCoy, who can play all three outfield spots, shortstop and second and third base, made his major league debut last year with the Colorado Rockies, going 0-for-5 in 12 games.
Toronto claimed him off waivers after the season, and he made the team after batting .400 (12-for-30) in spring training.
"They told me I'm the 25th man and I was there to spell guys, pinch run and help the team out, so it was exciting," he said.
The 29-year-old McCoy, who hit .200 (10-for-50) for the Blue Jays, said it was tough to adjust to a part-time role.
"It was something I'd never really experienced, not playing as much," he said. "It's hard off the bench, and the guys I was facing when I played were no slouches. I faced (Tampa Bay's Jeff) Niemann and (David) Price twice, and (Boston's Jon) Lester, so it was a tough go."
McCoy has thrived at the plate since joining the 51s, batting .352 (19-for-54) with four homers -- including a leadoff shot in Friday's 9-5 win over Reno -- and eight RBIs in 12 games.
"He's added some athleticism and speed to our team," 51s manager Dan Rohn said. "He's swung the bat well, with some power, and he's played very solid at short. He's just a good athlete."
A California native, the 5-foot-9-inch, 175-pound McCoy starred at the University of San Diego before the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the 34th round in 2002.
He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles before the 2008 season and was dealt to Colorado on July 19 of that year, compiling a career-high .343 batting average in 39 games for Colorado Springs.
McCoy had a breakout year for the Sky Sox last season, batting .307 with career highs in doubles (27), RBIs (52), walks (80), hits (142), runs (102) and stolen bases (40).
McCoy has started all 12 games for the 51s at shortstop, his preferred position.
"I played second in college, but I really feel like I can play short at this level," said McCoy, who committed his fourth error Saturday for Las Vegas. "It's a challenging position, but I think if I keep working, it could be my best position."
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.