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Thursday Bantering: Montreal Investors Meet Requirements for Team

Your morning update for everything Blue Jays.

Soccer: Montreal Olympic Stadium exterior views Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

A group of investors in Montreal have met the requirements to bring a team back into the city, The Canadian Press reported yesterday. The requirements, including solid financial set-up, support from two levels of government, various potential stadium locations and at least five different venue designs, have been fulfilled.

One person involved in the project said, “We are no longer looking for investors and that we believe we have all the ingredients to be able to welcome a team, be it an expansion one or one that already exists... For me, the most important element in all this is the team. All the other areas are sufficiently advanced.”

With the recent (and very near future) success of the Blue Jays’ series in Montreal over the past three seasons, it seems like there is sufficient capital to support a team in the city. The upcoming series in Montreal, between the Blue Jays and Pirates, has a total of more than 90,000 tickets sold, which is extremely close to the capacity of Olympic Stadium.

Possible hurdles rest in the way of Montreal getting a new team. First, commissioner Rob Manfred would like to add two, not one, team to the league to make scheduling easier. Second, the addition of a team will have to wait until the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Blue Jays lost 3-1 to the Yankees in their final spring training game yesterday. J.A. Happ started the game, going four innings and only allowing a single run. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two. Mike Bolsinger, in relief, gave up two runs to the Yankees, which ended up losing the game for Toronto’s limited offense. Justin Smoak had a good day at the plate, hitting a single and double in three plate appearances.

The Blue Jays head to Montreal tomorrow to the play the Pittsburgh Pirates at 7:07 ET. Although it isn’t quite the regular season, it’ll be exciting baseball. Marcus Stroman gets the start for Toronto, his last of spring training, countered by Jameson Taillon, who starts for the Pirates.

Right-handed reliever Bo Schultz underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday and will miss the entire 2017 season. Schultz had previously suffered an undisclosed elbow injury with uncertain severity, and was consulting Dr. Timothy Altchek in New York for a second opinion. Altchek eventually performed the surgery.

The Blue Jays reassigned catcher Juan Graterol and pitcher Dominic Leone to minor league camp, leaving the bullpen race down to Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup and Mike Bolsinger. Loup, a lefty, has looked strong this spring and appears to have the inside track for one of the two available bullpen roles. Manager John Gibbons shared that he wanted a reliever who could throw multiple innings, which likely favors Mike Bolsinger, although his weak performance yesterday could hinder his chances.

Follow Mark Colley on Instagram and Twitter at @360BlueJayNews and @MarkColley.