TORONTO — When Freddy Galvis was in negotiations to join the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent, the veteran shortstop knew that he'd likely have to give something up: his iron man streak.
The 29-year-old Galvis has the longest active games played streak in Major League Baseball at 327 (before Sunday's game), having played all 162 games in each of the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres. It's a far cry from Cal Ripken Jr.'s all-time record of 2,632 games played with the Baltimore Orioles, but it's a feat Galvis still takes pride in.
"If I play 162 games I'm going to be happy," said Galvis, who said that it was an issue raised when negotiating with Toronto's front office in the off-season. "If they're going to tell me that I have to be bench a couple of days, I'll be OK.
"I think I have 300-something games played in a row so my goal was to play a few more. But coming here, we spoke and we're on the same page. Whatever the manager says, we're going to be happy."
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo likes to rotate through his entire roster to make sure everyone is staying focused and game ready. It's such a priority for him that he keeps charts tracking when every player last took the field and at what position, so no one slips through the cracks.
Even with that kind of dedication to giving everyone their fair turn on the field, Montoyo expects it will be hard to end Galvis's streak.
"I was just talking to Freddy at breakfast and I said 'Dude, let me know when you're tired because I don't want you out there every day,'" said Montoyo. "He's going to give you a good at bat and he's going to catch every ball, so he's a manager's dream.
"Of course he's going to earn a day off here or there, but he said 'no man, I'm ready to play go every day.' Idon't know when he's going to get a day off, but we'll see."
Galvis is 4-for-11 with two runs batted in over four games this season. He hit .248 with 13 home runs and 67 RBIs last season in San Diego. He's a career .246 hitter with 65 homers and 302 RBIs over eight years in MLB.
He owes his perennial spot at shortstop to his superior fielding, however.
Galvis has a career .984 fielding percentage, a stat derived from adding putouts and assists and dividing them by the total number of assists, putouts and errors committed by a fielder. He turned 80 double plays at shortstop last season for the Padres, making only nine errors split between short and second base.
Montoyo wants to put an emphasis this season on pitching and defence, noting on Saturday that adding Galvis and pairing him with third baseman Brandon Drury has helped close the gap on the left side of the field for Toronto.
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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press