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News » Toronto Blue Jays Notes, Quotes 2008-12-27

Toronto Blue Jays Notes, Quotes 2008-12-27

Toronto Blue Jays Notes, Quotes 2008-12-27
--2B Aaron Hill, whose season ended May 29 when he sustained a concussion in a collision with SS David Eckstein, expects to be ready by Opening Day. "Everything is fine," Hill said at the team's spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., where he works out three times a week. "I got the go-ahead about a month ago. It's been fun getting here every day and actually doing some things."

--OF Kevin Mench, a free agent who played 51 games with the Jays last season, signed a one-year deal with Japan's Hanshin Tigers. Mench, 30, hit .243 in 115 at-bats for the Jays last season, did not hit a home run and drove in 10 runs.

--Some of the young arms who will be vying for a spot in the starting rotation include RHP Casey Janssen, LHP Brett Cecil, LHP Ricky Romero and RHP Scott Richmond. Because of the injuries to RHP Shaun Marcum (elbow) and RHP Dustin McGowan (shoulder), plus the loss of free agent RHP A.J. Burnett to the Yankees, the Jays have two open spots in their rotation back of RHP Roy Halladay, RHP Jesse Litsch ad LHP David Purcey.

--The Jays had some interest in pursuing free agent SS Rafael Furcal, who ultimately re-signed with the Dodgers. That leaves the Jays with Marco Scutaro as their incumbent shortstop backed up by John McDonald. "We're very happy with Scutaro and the job he did for us," general manager J.P. Ricciardi said.

--RF Alex Rios remains a diamond in the rough, Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "There's still some guys on our team that we have to work with. Rios is one," Gaston said. "Rios is a guy that has a lot of talent, as much talent as anyone on our team. We really want to make sure that he knows how to hit. When he learns how to hit, he's going to be really tough." In 2008, Rios, 27, hit .291 with 15 home runs and 79 RBIs in 635 at-bats.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6-10 -- RHP Casey Janssen's record as a starting pitcher with the Blue Jays. Janssen made 17 starts in 2006 with a 5.22 ERA. In 2007, Janssen worked exclusively out of the bullpen. This spring, he'll be a candidate for the rotation.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "A.J. did a great job for us last season, but we have some young kids that had a chance to do some things and it's also looking pretty promising in the farm system. It's a great opportunity for them, and hopefully they will come up, prove themselves and help us next season." -- 2B Aaron Hill on the loss of RHP A.J. Burnett, who signed a five-year deal with the Yankees.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: December 27, 2008

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