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#pounditSaturday, February 4, 2023

Articles tagged: Toronto Blue Jays

Video: Pete Walker goes nuts on Joe West, gets ejected

Pete Walker Joe West

Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker went nuts on umpire Joe West and got ejected from Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Jays lost the finale of a three-game series with the Rays 7-1. Jays pitcher Ryan Borucki was ejected for hitting Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch in the eighth inning. The hit-by-pitch was retribution for Kiermaier taking a dropped scouting report card the Blue Jays had made. Tampa Bay declined to return the dropped scouting report card to Toronto, which upset the Blue Jays.

One of the best parts about Wednesday’s ejection was seeing Walker go nuts on West.

Pete Walker Joe West

Man, was he heated!

Toronto had really no basis for being so upset when it was their catcher who dropped the scouting report. It becomes fair game as soon as you drop it on the playing field. And that pitch was absolutely intentional, so Toronto really has no argument.

Walker apparently was upset because Toronto was going to change pitchers anyway.

But Jays fans probably love the passion coming from Walker.

Video: Blue Jays throw at Kevin Kiermaier over card incident

Kevin Kiermaier blue jays

The Toronto Blue Jays still had some lingering bad feelings toward the Tampa Bay Rays over what has been dubbed “cardgate.”

The issue started Monday, when Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier picked up a card that included all the scouting reports for Tampa Bay’s hitters. Keirmaier kept the card, which had been dropped by Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk, and the team refused to return it. Kiermaier claimed he had initially picked up the card believing it was his, but refused to give it back once the team had it.

The Blue Jays were angered by the whole situation, and they took matters into their own hands on Wednesday. Reliever Ryan Borucki hit Kiermaier in the back with a pitch, leading both benches to clear.

Borucki was ultimately ejected from the game, which set off Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker.

It’s pretty silly that Walker is upset about this. If a pitcher throws at a batter, they run the risk of being ejected. It’s hard to imagine anyone would dispute that Borucki’s pitch was intentional given the circumstances.

The Blue Jays will probably consider the issue settled at this point, but don’t be surprised if this just makes the Rays angrier. The two teams do not meet again during the regular season. Intriguingly, however, there is a real chance these two teams could meet in the ALDS. The Rays currently hold the best record in the AL, while the Blue Jays are in line for a wild card spot. If Toronto can get that and win the Wild Card playoff while the Rays clinch the best record, they’d be in line to play again.

Blue Jays ticked at Kevin Kiermaier for taking their scouting report

Kevin Kiermaier scouting report

The Toronto Blue Jays are upset with Kevin Kiermaier for taking one of their cards.

During the sixth inning of Monday’s game between the Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, Kiermaier was trying to score after an error and was thrown out at home to end the inning. After being tagged out, Kiermaier noticed a piece of paper near the plate and grabbed it.

It turns out the piece of paper contained the Blue Jays’ scouting report for every Tampa Bay hitter. The notes sheet fell out of Alejandro Kirk’s wristband.

The Jays apparently sent a batboy over to ask for the paper back but were turned down.

On Tuesday, Kiermaier addressed the matter. He said that it happened quickly and he thought the paper was his scouting report, so he took it. He also said that he wasn’t about to give it back to Toronto once he had it.

There are a few things. First off, if the Jays are going to make a scouting report notes card and carry it around on the field, then they need to take good care of it. Kirk dropped it on the field and left it behind. That’s his problem.

Secondly, couldn’t Kiermaier have just taken photos of the notes sheet and then given it back? That might have been the best of both worlds. But he definitely did not have any obligation to give that paper back.

Video: Blue Jays had hilarious reaction to Hansel Robles staring down dugout

Guerrero Gurriel laughing

Things got a bit heated between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox on Friday, but the Blue Jays certainly seemed to come out of it better than Boston did.

Things veered out of control in the bottom of the 5th, as the Blue Jays put up nine runs to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 9-2 lead. A key point in the inning came when Red Sox reliever Hansel Robles hit Toronto outfielder Randal Grichuk with a pitch. Grichuk had doubled earlier in the inning, and Toronto’s players seemed to believe there was intent behind the hit batter.

Robles heard the chirping and tried to stare down the Toronto dugout after hitting Grichuk. The problem for him was the players, especially Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel, were not having it.

Your mean mugging probably isn’t very mean if that’s the reaction it gets.

Things didn’t get better for Robles after that. He allowed a single and a double to the next two hitters and ended up allowing two more runs to score.

It’s worth noting that Robles and Guerrero do have a bit of history. Maybe that was in their minds as this confrontation happened. It’s safe to say Vladdy wasn’t too impressed.

Jose Berrios traded to Blue Jays from Twins

Jose Berrios

The Toronto Blue Jays made a major move to beef up their starting rotation on Friday, as they have acquired right-hander Jose Berrios in a trade with the Minnesota Twins.

The Blue Jays have agreed to send multiple prospects to Minnesota for Berrios, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported. Toronto has one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, and two of their top-five prospects are involved in the deal.

Berrios, 27, is a two-time All-Star. He is 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA this season and known for his excellent curveball. He is not scheduled to become a free agent until 2023.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were said to have interest in Berrios, but they instead landed Max Scherzer on Thursday in a monster deal.

Blue Jays will have this many fans at Rogers Centre for return to Toronto

The Blue Jays have confirmed their return to Toronto for a homestand starting July 30, and we’re starting to get more details regarding how that will look.

Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro revealed that 15,000 fans will be admitted to Rogers Centre for the July 30 game against the Kansas City Royals. Shapiro added that the roof will be kept open as much as possible.

Rogers Centre typically seats just shy of 50,000 in its baseball configuration, so the stadium will be at about 30 percent capacity for the team’s return.

The Jays’ return was confirmed Friday with a pretty awesome social media video. It will mark the team’s first game in its actual home since Sept. 29, 2019.

Blue Jays announce return to Toronto with awesome video

The Toronto Blue Jays are finally headed home, and they announced the news with a pretty awesome video.

The Blue Jays officially received an exemption from the Canadian government allowing the team to return to Rogers Centre for games starting July 30. It remains to be seen if there will be any sort of rules for visiting players, or how many fans will initially be allowed to attend — if any.

Still, the mere fact that the Blue Jays can finally play in Toronto again was a cause for celebration. The team confirmed the news with a video paying tribute to Blue Jays fans who have not seen their team play in Canada in over a year and a half.

The Blue Jays spent the first part of the season playing home games at their spring training complex in Dunedin, Fl. They recently moved to Sahlen Field in Buffalo, where they spent the 2020 season.

A return to Toronto could be what the 45-42 Blue Jays need to get going and make a playoff push. There are rumors that they could be looking to add even more firepower to their lineup as well.

Report: Blue Jays, A’s interested in Nelson Cruz trade

Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz is once again having an incredibly productive season, and the Minnesota Twins are widely expected to trade him since they are out of playoff contention. At least two teams are interested in the seven-time All-Star, and there will likely be more.

The Oakland A’s and Toronto Blue Jays are possible suitors for Cruz, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

The Blue Jays are 44-40 and eight games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They already have one of the best offenses in baseball and lead the league with 128 home runs, so Cruz would make their already potent lineup even more dangerous.

Oakland is 49-39 and 5.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West. They rank near the middle of MLB in most offensive categories.

Cruz turned 41 earlier this month, but he is having one of the best seasons of his career. He’s batting .304 with 18 home runs, 45 RBI and an OPS of .939. He signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Twins prior to the season.

This is when the Blue Jays could return to Toronto for games

The Blue Jays haven’t played a game in Toronto since 2019, but that could finally be changing soon.

The Blue Jays are awaiting a response from the Canadian government to a plan that would allow them to play home games at Rogers Centre in Toronto starting on July 30, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. The plan has already been approved by the necessary local and provincial authorities, and comes as Canada is set to ease some border restrictions for returning travelers starting Monday.

Details would need to be fleshed out about certain aspects of the plan, as MLB still has unvaccinated players that would need to travel from the United States to Canada for games. One possibility is that unvaccinated players could be subjected to quarantine restrictions that fully vaccinated players are not.

The Blue Jays have been playing home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo after playing the first two months of the regular season at their spring training ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. The team is scheduled to open a ten-game homestand against Kansas City, Cleveland, and Boston starting on the 30th. If that homestand doesn’t work out, the team would likely target a seven-game homestand starting August 20 for a possible return to Toronto.

Blue Jays players will be very excited to return to Toronto. They’ve spent the last year and a half playing at minor league stadiums without the high-end facilities and amenities they’re used to. That was a key issue in one aspect last offseason, and it’s not something they’ll want to have to deal with any longer.

Blue Jays hopeful of playing home games in Toronto later in season

The Toronto Blue Jays are about to open their second season outside of their home city, but there is some optimism that this will not last through 2021.

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro revealed that the team hopes to seek formal permission within the next few months to begin playing games at Rogers Centre.

“I do think that we have significant positive and objective momentum that would lead us to make a more formal ask sometime in the next month,” Shapiro told Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic. “Not to come back in a month, but make that ask for later in the summer, sometime in the next month.

“We’ve got fairly good information that the vaccine will be accessible to our players and other major-league teams in the next two to three weeks or month. So that if by the end of April or early May all of our players or the bulk of our players and staff are vaccinated and other teams are as well and Toronto is a safe place, it starts to feel like the reasons for us not to be there, the risks start to be mitigated. I would say that when we start to have that material progress that we see the vaccinations actually happening, we will start to formalize an ask.”

The Blue Jays spent the 2020 season in Buffalo due to travel restrictions with Canada. This season, they are poised to play at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fl. until further notice. That’s fairly close to where the Toronto Raptors are playing their own home games.

The uncertainty over Toronto’s home has been a problem for the team in doing business with players. The good news is this looks likely to be squared away in the months to come.