Blue Jays C Martin to manage Sunday's finale

Blue Jays C Martin to manage Sunday's finale

Reuters

Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin has a new role for Sunday’s season finale against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The 35-year-old will serve as the team’s manager.

Outgoing manager John Gibbons confirmed to reporters that Martin will manage the last game.

“Let him have fun with it,” Gibbons said.

Martin is slated to do all the typical duties — fill out the lineup card, handle the bullpen, make in-game decisions and handle pregame and postgame media responsibilities.

Martin, a four-time All-Star, is batting just .194 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs this season.

The Blue Jays announced earlier this week that they were parting ways with Gibbons.

Toronto has a 73-87 record entering Saturday’s game at Tropicana Field.

–Field Level Media

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Veteran Russell Martin will manage the Blue Jays in the team's regular season finale

Veteran Russell Martin will manage the Blue Jays in the team's regular season finale

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is planning to let veteran catcher Russell Martin manage the Jays’ final game of the 2018 season against the Tampa Bay Rays.

After 11 seasons spread over two managerial stints in Toronto, Gibbons was officially let go by the Blue Jays this past Wednesday. The Blue Jays will finish well under .500 this season, and are currently 73-87.

Gibbons already said his goodbyes to the city of Toronto and the fans when the Blue Jays played their final home game of the season on Wednesday. So, maybe passing the managerial duties to Martin is Gibbons’ way of trying to slowly ease his exit as the Blue Jays’ manager? Or, it’s just an odd stunt. Either way, it could still be meaningful for Martin.

This season, the 35-year-old has embraced the role of catching mentor for the Jays rookie catching duo of Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire. Martin’s playing time dwindled in the last month of the season (hasn’t appeared in a game since Sept. 3), and he has spent more time watching from the dugout. 

Grichuk's 3-run triple rallies Blue Jays past Rays 7-6

Grichuk's 3-run triple rallies Blue Jays past Rays 7-6

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From left to right, Toronto Blue Jays outfielders Jonathan Davis, Billy McKinney and Kevin Pillar celebrate a win over the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Randal Grichuk hit a pinch-hit, three-run triple and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6 Friday night.

Jon Berti, playing in his second big-league game after eight years in the minors, had a two-run double for his first career RBIs that tied the score 4-4 in the sixth inning.

Grichuk’s first triple of the season came off Jose Alvarado (1-6) to put Toronto up 7-5 in the seventh.

Adam Moore’s first home run since 2012 drove in the final run for Tampa Bay in the eighth.

Tim Mayza (2-0) got the win and Ken Giles pitched the ninth for his 26th save, converting his 31st straight successful save opportunity.

Mallex Smith tripled and Joey Wendle doubled for the Rays in a three-run first inning against Toronto starter Thomas Pannone. Tommy Pham also walked in the inning, extending his streak of games in which he has reached base to 30.

Smith had three hits and scored twice for the Rays, who lost by one run for the 31st time.

Rays starter Tyler Glasnow gave up three runs and seven hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Teoscar Hernandez led off the second inning with his 21st home run, and Rowdy Tellez led off the sixth with his fourth, starting a three-run inning that helped the Blue Jays tie it 4-all.

Pannone pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs and seven hits with three walks.

HAPPY TO BE HERE

John Gibbons has called Tropicana Field a ”house of horrors” but said he is happy that his final series as Blue Jays manager is being played at the domed stadium. ”There’s no chance of a rainout or doubleheaders,” Gibbons said.� ”Perfect temperature.”

Toronto improved to 74-109 all-time on the Rays’ home field.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR

Rays manager Kevin Cash said Thursday’s beanball incident that got New York pitcher C.C. Sabathia ejected is best forgotten. ”I’m glad nobody got hurt,” Cash said. ”It’s probably a good time for us to send off the Yankees and not play ’em for a while.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: INF prospect Bo Bichette will not play in the Arizona Fall League due to minor knee and elbow soreness. The 20-year old� hit .286 with 11 homers and 74 RBIs at Double-A New Hampshire.

Rays: DH Ji-Man Choi (left ear laceration) and 3B Matt Duffy (hamstring) are not likely to play in the season-ending series for precautionary reasons.

Duffy played in 131 games after missing the entire 2017 season recovering from Achilles surgery.

UP NEXT

LHP Blake Snell (21-5) will be attempting to win his 10th straight start for the Rays on Saturday night against LHP Ryan Borucki (4-5). Snell has not lost since July 12, and has a 1.03 earned run average over his nine straight wins.

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Blue Jays manager John Gibbons will not return next season

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons will not return next season

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Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons attends a press conference in Toronto, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. Gibbons will not return to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, ending his second run with the club. The Blue Jays made the long-expected announcement on Wednesday, ahead of Toronto’s final home game of the season against the Houston Astros. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — John Gibbons wasn’t sure he had the energy to oversee a rebuild in Toronto, so he’s moving on from his job as manager of the Blue Jays at the end of the season.

”We are going to have a new voice. We are going to have a new approach,” general manager Ross Atkins said before Wednesday’s home final against Houston.

The 56-year-old Gibbons has one season left in a two-year extension he received in April 2017.

”I’ve been here a long time and I agree it’s probably time for a change,” Gibbons said. ”We’re rebuilding here, and actually I think I’m the perfect guy for a rebuild. But I don’t know if I have the energy, necessarily.”

Outfielder Kevin Pillar, the longest-tenured Blue Jays player, stood at the back of a packed news conference to hear the announcement in person. Gibbons received a standing ovation when he brought the lineup card out to home plate before the game. He acknowledged the crowd with a wave and a tip of his cap.

Atkins said Gibbons can decide whether to take a new role in the organization. Gibbons didn’t rule that out, but also said he’d like to manage in the big leagues again.

”These jobs are hard to come by,” he said. ”But we’ll see. It’s not going to destroy me if I don’t. But time is on my side, age-wise, I think. I’d like to try it again.”

Gibbons is 791-787 in 11 seasons during two stints managing Toronto, his 1,578 games second only to Cito Gaston’s 1,764. Gibbons also trails Gaston (913) in career wins with Toronto.

Gibbons replaced Carlos Tosca in August 2004, was fired in June 2008 and returned ahead of the 2013 season.

Two years later, the Blue Jays won the AL East and ended a 22-year postseason drought, buoyed by the addition of slugger Josh Donaldson. They lost the AL Championship Series in six games against Kansas City, which went on the win the World Series.

”We finally became relevant in baseball again,” Gibbons said. ”It had been a long time.”

A wild-card winner in 2016, the Blue Jays lost to Cleveland in a five-game championship series.

Gibbons feared me might lose his job when former GM Alex Anthoplouos left the Blue Jays at the end of 2015 and Mark Shapiro became president, bringing Atkins on as GM.

”To be honest with you, I thought I was probably gone then,” Gibbons said. ”I can’t thank (Atkins) enough for keeping me around. That doesn’t always happen. He put a lot of money in my pocket. That’s not bad, either.”

Atkins said he will discuss the future of Toronto’s coaches this the weekend as the Blue Jays finish the season with three games at Tampa Bay.

In between his stints with the Blue Jays, Gibbons served three seasons as a bench coach with the Royals, working alongside managers Trey Hillman and Ned Yost. Gibbons also spent one season managing his hometown team, the Double-A San Antonio Missions, a minor league team in the San Diego Padres organization.

A first-round draft pick by the New York Mets in 1980, Gibbons hit .220 with one home run and two RBIs in 18 career games as a catcher, eight of them in New York’s World Series-winning season in 1986. He became a minor league instructor in 1991 and got his first managerial job with the Mets’ Appalachian League team in 1995.

Gibbons is the second big league manager to lose his job this month. Texas fired Jeff Banister last Friday.

Before the game, Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement declaring Sept. 26, 2018, to be ‘John Gibbons Day’ in the city. Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan honoured his sporting colleague too, sending a jersey with Gibbons’ name and number 5 to the departing manager.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Toronto Blue Jays part ways with manager John Gibbons

Toronto Blue Jays part ways with manager John Gibbons

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2018 1:16PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 26, 2018 1:37PM EDT

TORONTO — Manager John Gibbons will not return to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, ending his second run with the club.

The Blue Jays made the long-expected announcement on Wednesday, ahead of Toronto’s final home game of the season against the Houston Astros.

Gibbons’s job security was in question earlier this summer as rumours circulated that the club was contemplating making a managerial change. But the Jays announced in August that Gibbons would finish the season, which concludes Sunday after a three-game series in Tampa against the Rays.

In early 2017, Gibbons was rewarded for back-to-back playoff appearances with a contract extension through 2019 with a club option for 2020. But the Blue Jays missed the playoffs last year and played below expectations again this season.

The Jays went into rebuilding mode this year after the club fell out of playoff contention early in the season, leading to trades of key players like Josh Donaldson and J.A. Happ.

Gibbons leaves the franchise in second place on the team’s all-time list for managerial victories with 791. Cito Gaston is the all-time leader with 892 wins.

The 56-year-old from San Antonio, Texas also managed the team from August 2004 to June 2008. He was rehired in November 2012.

Gibbons guided the Blue Jays to a disappointing 74-88 record in 2013 but the Blue Jays improved to 83-79 the following year. A flurry of moves at the 2015 trade deadline by then-GM Alex Anthopoulos helped reignite the fanbase and the team soared in the second half en route to ending a 22-year playoff drought.

A 93-69 mark in 2015 gave the Blue Jays the American League East division crown. Toronto beat the Texas Rangers in the ALDS before losing the AL Championship Series in six games to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

Bolstered by AL MVP Donaldson and sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the Blue Jays led the league in runs scored (891), home runs (232), RBIs (852), walks (570) and on-base plus slugging (.797).

Most of the offensive weapons returned for 2016 and the team’s 89-73 mark was good enough for a return to the post-season. Toronto beat the Baltimore Orioles in the AL wild-card game and took Texas down again before falling to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS.

The Blue Jays struggled in 2017 and were essentially out of the playoff mix by mid-season in 2018.

Gibbons first joined the Blue Jays’ coaching staff in 2002 as a bullpen catcher. He was promoted mid-season to first base coach and served in that capacity until replacing manager Carlos Tosca.

Gibbons spent parts of three seasons as a catcher with the New York Mets after being drafted by the team in 1980.

He later worked as a coach and manager for a number of teams at a variety of minor-league levels.

Aaron Sanchez undergoes mysterious finger surgery in Los Angeles

Aaron Sanchez undergoes mysterious finger surgery in Los Angeles

Aaron Sanchez has had a couple of star-crossed seasons in a row. (Jon Blacker/CP)

Aaron Sanchez’s tough 2018 hit another bump in the road on Monday as the right-hander underwent surgery on his right index finger.

“I don’t have the specifics beyond [the fact he did have surgery] because it’s probably still ongoing,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkin announced prior to the team’s Tuesday matchup with the Houston Astros. “It’s with Dr. Shin in Los Angeles and I’ll have more information tomorrow.”

Atkins was unable to elaborate further on the nature of the procedure, hinting that there could be a number of different possibilities.

“It could be more involved, it could be less involved,’ he said. “Whether it’s going to be as simple as taking a look versus a pulley strain it’s probably best for us to see what the actual outcome is.”

While there’s clearly a great deal the Blue Jays don’t know about the situation just yet, the GM made it clear he doesn’t expect Sanchez’s current predicament to affect his preparation for 2019.

“Based on the information we have today, we’d expect a full spring training,” he said.

Sanchez has battled through finger issues all season, limiting him to 20 starts, and diminishing his ability on the mound. At times his ability to throw a curveball has been an issue and overall his command has been lacking as he’s posted a 4.89 ERA and a 4.97 BB/9.

While there are very few answers right now, manager John Gibbons is hopeful the issue will resolve itself quickly.

“Hopefully this clears it all and there’s no looking back,” he said. “He’s important to this team.”

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