Lots and lots and lots of news. Here’s the latest:
The Blue Jays and John Gibbons agreed on a contract extension until 2019, with a team option for 2020, as first reported by Steve Phillips of MLB.com. Earlier yesterday, Jon Heyman shared that Gibbons and the Blue Jay front office were likely to have a deal finalized by opening day. “You guys know. It’s common knowledge we’ve been talking about things. We’ve made progress. Hopefully it all falls into place. These guys have been good to me. No complaints. We’ve been talking about it,” Gibbons told Arash Madani of Sportsnet.
John Gibbons is the second-most winning manager in Blue Jay history, sitting behind Cito Gaston. As Keegan Matheson, an associate reporter for MLB.com notes, the team is attracted to Gibbons because of his mold with the Blue Jays and their culture. “A micro-manager could clog the gears in a clubhouse like Blue Jays. Gibbons allowing players to set/lead the ‘culture’ fits roster very well.”
Jose Bautista, who was originally in today’s lineup batting fourth as a designated hitter, has now been scratched from the lineup. Per Arden Zwelling, Bautista is still dealing with lower back stiffness that he experienced during the World Baseball Classic and felt that there was no need to push his return to the lineup. Regardless, he was still running and throwing with the team on the field today, so his injury is likely not serious. He is expected to return to game action on Friday, after an off day tomorrow.
The Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 5-2 yesterday, riding a somewhat strong start from Aaron Sanchez and four run fourth inning. Sanchez pitched 3.1 innings with just one hit and one run, but he also walked four and struck out just two. Off of starter Ubaldo Jimenez, the Blue Jays struck for four to take an early and lasting lead. You can read our full game recap here.
Today, the Blue Jays will head back home to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium and face the Detroit Tigers. Marco Estrada starts for Toronto, while former Blue Jay Daniel Norris will face his old team. The game starts at 1:07 EST and you can listen to it on MLB.com.
Marcus Stroman’s mother has received threatening comments on social media regarding Stroman’s decision to pitch for Team USA in the WBC. His mother, Adlin Auffant, is Puerto Rican, while his father is American, so Stroman was eligible to play for both teams.
"I know a lot of people have been saying bad things to her, going through the process, on social media. That's my mother. I stand by her always. She supports me through everything. I don't respect some of the comments that were made toward my mother.”
His mother had tweeted earlier that she was “embarrassed to see the vulgar comments towards my son and I over a game from ‘fans’ of PR.”
This offseason, Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette told Jose Bautista’s agent, and, later, Jeff Blair on SN590, that the Orioles were not interested in signing Bautista because their fans don’t like him. Yesterday, Duquette repeated that sentiment in an interview on MLB.com.
"Well that was an easy one; our fans just don't like Jose. We play those guys 25 times a year and he's the face of the Blue Jays. He's the villain in the play whenever we play the Blue Jays. I like our guys. Our guys are good. [Mark] Trumbo is like a working-class-type baseball player. If he was going to work every day on a construction site, you would understand that he brings that kind of work ethic every day. That's the kind of player that our fans identify with. We try to get gritty players that work hard every day and give their best effort every day. Our fans seem to like that and respond to it."
In more division news, Yankees infielder Didi Gregorius is likely to miss all of April with a shoulder strain, per Andrew Marchand of ESPN. Gregorius initially injured his shoulder during a double play while with Team Netherlands in a spring training exhibition game. With this injury, and the fact that Red Sox starter David Price is likely to spend considerable time on the disabled list to start the season, Toronto’s chances at a hot start are looking up.