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Looking to stop the slide, struggling Jays hold players-only meeting

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle pauses on the mound in the third inning of their American League baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Toronto July 20, 2013.

FRED THORNHILL/REUTERS

The struggling Toronto Blue Jays held a players-only meeting for more than one hour prior to their home game Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Who knows, if people listen maybe there's some good to come out of it," Toronto closer Casey Janssen said after the meeting. "If it doesn't I guess we're no worse off than we were before."

Los Angeles defeated Toronto 14-5 in the series opener Monday night, handing the Blue Jays their fifth straight loss.

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"Hopefully we come together and everyone realizes we haven't quit," Janssen said. "And there are guys in that room that genuinely care about the season, about each other and if nothing else for the most part we're kind of tired of seeing the product that we're seeing on the field."

Janssen wouldn't say what was discussed behind closed doors.


Watch: Dodgers clobber Blue Jays

"It was a closed-door meeting for a reason," he said. "We talked.

"Without getting into too much detail we need to pick it up and play a lot better."

Toronto entered the season with high hopes for a possible playoff appearance. But heading into Tuesday's game had a 45-53 record and was 13 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East.

"It's good if it helps," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the meeting. "We're looking for solutions, you know.

"We've had one before, it's not like it's unusual. The key is to get something going, something lights that spark. There comes a time in every season when you've got to air some things out, something is bothering somebody. It's nothing unusual."

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Janssen said the idea for the meeting came after Monday's game when a few players talked.

"We were talking shop and we got some things off our chest and said we probably we need to talk to all the guys in the room," Janssen said. "I think for the most part it went well.

"Right now they're just words. I think everyone, including myself and my teammates, want to see it on the field."

Janssen said the theme of the meeting was "not taking anything for granted and go out and have fun and not think of the record and all of the other things and just go out there and do your job and try and get a win."

Janssen said the Blue Jays have shown "some fight" despite recent losses. He pointed to consecutive ninth-inning rallies that fell short in 4-3 losses to the Tampa Bay Rays last weekend.

"We've had some great ninth innings," he said. "We talked about trying to have those ninth innings in the fifth inning.

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"I mean (Tampa Bay's) Fernando Rodney is a great closer and we pushed him to the limit it seems like in every game. And we've had comeback wins late in games. There is fight. We just need to see the fight through nine innings instead of when our backs are actually to the wall.

"We need to play good ball and just see what we can make of this thing. We're good to go on a run and have some meaningful games in September and try to sneak in there."

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