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As the Toronto Blue Jays set their sights on what it takes to win in the playoffs, there may be a place on the post-season roster for speedster Dalton Pompey.

Even though the 24-year-old outfielder has only appeared in 33 games for the Blue Jays this season, he could be a valuable asset as a pinch-running specialist.

“I think every team needs one of those guys,” manager John Gibbons said Thursday in Baltimore. “We got some guys in the lineup that you need to run for. Yeah, he’s been perfect with it, stole a few bases. Every time he gets on, he seems to score, so it’s worked pretty good.”

Gibbons praised Pompey’s instincts on the base paths and for good reason. The Mississauga, Ont., native has five stolen bases in six chances this season. Including his career in the minors, Pompey has stolen 151 bases on 184 tries, an 82-per-cent success rate.

Part of that, Gibbons said, is Pompey’s ability to read pitchers well. He knows when to take chances, something that could be just as important as his raw speed late in a playoff game.

“He’s got a great first step and he can fly,” Gibbons said. “Shoot, he’s been great. He’s helped win us a couple games.”

Assuming Toronto goes with a playoff rotation of David Price, Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada and R.A. Dickey, they could have a seven- or eight-man bullpen. If it’s seven, there’s a great chance of Pompey making it, even if he’s the fifth outfielder, joined on the bench by Ezequiel Carrera.

Pompey and Carrera played in the second half of the Blue Jays’ doubleheader Wednesday and again Thursday as Gibbons gave his regulars a rest. Pompey was particularly impressive at the plate Thursday, going 3 for 4 with a walk and a run scored.

“It was a good day for me offensively,” Pompey said afterwards. “It’s nice to be able to get in there after such a long layover. Credit to these guys making it happen, winning the AL East and giving me a chance to play. Hopefully I can make the most of it.”

Pompey is likely the subject of great discussion in the organization for the role he could play in the post-season. But he said he hasn’t thought about it.

“Actually not at all,” Pompey said. “After (Wednesday) celebrating getting into the post-season for the first time in 20 years winning the AL East, that’s huge. But then after we did that I knew we had another game after and I was going to play so I kind of had no time to really focus on anything else but playing the game and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

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Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press

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