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arly stages, and after Mike

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arly stages, and after Mike

Postby kaisy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:30 am

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista cant wait to get going. After a season of frustration that ended in controversy, the Toronto Blue Jays slugger is excited for 2013 following the teams major roster overhaul. General manager Alex Anthopoulos added five former or current all-stars in a series of off-season moves, including the addition of National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, fellow pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, as well as shortstop Jose Reyes and outfielder Melky Cabrera. "A lot of great moves. Alex has really stuck to his word and said that when the time was right he was going to pull some moves to make this team competitive for a long period of time and thats exactly what hes done," Bautista said Saturday at Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays kicked off their winter tour. "It gives all of us -- the players, the coaches, the fans, the front office, the ownership -- a lot of reasons to be excited and happy about our upcoming seasons." While the addition of new talent immediately makes the Blue Jays favourites in the American League East, it also brings added focus to a club that hasnt made the playoffs since winning back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. "Theyre great expectations. I wouldnt say its pressure," said Bautista, who missed the final two months of last season with a wrist injury that required surgery. "I would look at it like background noise -- noise thats helping you out. Everybody expects us to win and thats great but its not something were going to focus on because its not going to help us be better." The Blue Jays suffered through a miserable 2012 season that included a 73-89 record, former shortstop Yunel Escobar getting suspended for wearing eye black displaying an anti-gay slur written in Spanish during a game, and culminated with manager John Farrell jumping ship to the rival Boston Red Sox for what he called his "dream job." But in a hectic two months of trades, signings and the rehiring of former manager John Gibbons, Anthopoulos has created a buzz in a city starved for a winner. Bautista says now its up to the players to deliver on all that promise. "When you have such a competitive group put together on the same team you cant help but to feed off of each other and Im sure thats what were going to do," he said. "Nobodys going to have to press or overdo it because nobody has to be spectacular. Everybody just has to come in, do their job and as a group were going to play pretty good baseball if everybody just does what theyre capable of doing." Bautista has even more reason to be happy with the roster makeover. After hitting a club-record 54 home runs in 2010, the 32-year-old has at times voiced his displeasure with the direction of the team since signing a long-term contract extension. "They wanted to build the organization from within, get heavy on the draft, get a lot of players (and) have a strong minor-league system (to) put themselves in a position to be able to pull these kinds of moves youre seeing today," Bautista said. "Weve got a pretty good team put together and when the season starts its time to play ball." Blue Jays first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind was on vacation in Mexico when Novembers trade with the Marlins brought Buehrle, Johnson and Reyes to Toronto. "There were some Canadians down there and they let me know what happened," he said. "It just popped up out of nowhere, I checked the Internet and were getting three of the best players from the National League over to our team. Hopefully we can get to the playoffs. "Its a very exciting time to be a Blue Jay." Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil says players from last years roster are excited for spring training to meet their new teammates. "Every one of those guys makes the team better," he said. "The starting staff that we have now is one of the best in baseball. I think on paper were the best team in the AL East or even in (the majors). Its just a matter of going out and executing." Notes: Bautista updated his recovery from the wrist injury, saying he has full range of motion and is pain free. He has yet to face live pitching but has been in the batting cage five times a week. Bautista added that no determination has been made with regards to his participation at World Baseball Classic. ... The Blue Jays winter tour will include stops in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton. Warren Moon Throwback Jersey . Donaldson produced two bogey-free rounds of 31 at Lake Malaren and needed only 24 putts to break the record of 63 set by Noh Seung-yul of South Korea last year. Morten Andersen Throwback Jersey . Kurtic levelled in the 87th minute. Earlier, he missed Slovenias best chance by sending a free kick just over the bar. Greece defender Vasilis Torosidis put the 2004 champions in front after eight minutes with a low shot coming in from the right wing. http://www.officialmitchellandnessshop. ... is-jersey/ . Bond, who is yet to land a top-20 finish in his first year on the European Tour, carded four birdies on the last five holes and seven in total to go one shot clear of Thomas Norret, Daniel Gaunt and Joost Luiten. Mark Bavaro Throwback Jersey . That was part of Carters 14 points in the fourth quarter for the Dallas Mavericks, after O.J. Mayos go-ahead spurt to end the third, and it almost wasnt enough against the New York Knicks. Howie Long Throwback Jersey . Blake Griffin scored 23 points, Chris Paul had 17 points and 13 assists and the Clippers extended a franchise record with their 13th consecutive victory, 103-77 over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. MIAMI -- The Miami Heat knew what was coming from Sacramento. Eventually, they handled the Kings challenge. Dwyane Wade had 30 points and 10 assists, Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh each scored 20 points and the NBA-leading Heat stretched their winning streak to seven games with a 120-108 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. "It was a good game for me, just trying to be aggressive and was able to get my teammates some shots," said Wade, who shot 11 for 16 and has tied his career-best with 11 straight games of shooting 50 per cent or better, matching a run from his rookie season. "And I was also able to continue do what Ive been doing the last couple games, just taking high-percentage shots and making them." LeBron James scored 18 points, Norris Cole had 12 and Udonis Haslem added 10 for Miami (26-7), which has won each of its games during this streak by at least 12 points. Next up for Miami: The New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin come to town Thursday. "Its going to be fun," James said. "Its going to be electrifying. ... It could be one of the most-watched games that weve had in a long time." Isaiah Thomas scored 20 of his 24 points in the third quarter for Sacramento, which dropped its sixth straight. Marcus Thornton scored 23, Tyreke Evans finished with 21 points and 10 assists, and Jason Thompson had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings. The Kings were without guard John Salmons, a late scratch with a sore right hip. "You needed to play a perfect game to win this game against this team and we were pretty close to the perfect game," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "We had moments, but when you give up 25 points off turnovers, youre not going to beat many teams." Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he didnt expect Sacramento to come out and play like a team with one of the NBAs worst records, and he was right. Thompson had 10 points and six rebounds in the opening quarter and Evans buzzer-beating 3-pointer from near midcourt gave Sacramento a 32-26 lead after 12 minutes. Maybe the biggest surprise of the first half was that it took Miami -- a team that had led by 20 points at some time in each of its six previous outings, but never enjoyed better than an 18-point margin Tuesday -- nearly a full hour after tipoff to get the highlight reels cranking. "I dont think we came out flat," said Chalmers, who matched a career-best with six three-pointers. "I just think they knew how to get out early on us." Late in the second quarter, James blocked a drive by Thomas, the Heat controlled the reebound, and took off running.ddddddddddddJames got the ball to Wade, who leaped, stayed airborne long enough to draw contact from Cousins and then made an acrobatic layup while falling to the floor. The three-point play put Miami ahead 49-47 and the Heat kept the lead -- such as it was -- the rest of the half. Another spectacular James-to-Wade connection helped. Wade forced Donte Greene into a miss, and Francisco Garcia grabbed the rebound and tried to lay the ball in, all in the same motion. James blocked Garcias shot -- the Kings wanted goaltending -- and moments later threw a 70-foot chest pass to Wade for an alley-oop layup at the other end, part of a late mini-flurry that sent Miami into halftime leading 57-53. "They played very well and they have some weapons, some young weapons on that team that you saw," Spoelstra said. The Heat kept the lead for the entirety of the third quarter, despite Thomas best efforts. Thomas 20 points came in a 10-minute span of that quarter, a 5-for-6 effort from three-point range and 5-for-5 from the foul line, the last three there coming when he was fouled by Cole while trying about a 25-footer in the final seconds of the third and getting Sacramento to 93-88. "Ive always been a scorer my whole life," Thomas said. "I score in bunches but we didnt get the win. Thats the most important thing." Early in the fourth, the Heat seemed to decide enough was enough. A 15-5 run, mostly from the Heat reserves, provided the long awaited breathing room. Cole had four points and an assist in the early stages, and after Mike Miller missed a three-pointer, Haslem capped the flurry with a one-handed putback dunk that sent Wade running about 15 feet onto the court at the other end in celebration. "We know teams are going to play better than they usually play against us and thats OK," James said. "If it takes four quarters, which were capable of playing, we just continue to weather the storm and continue to do what we need to do." NOTES: Haslem (now with 4,549) passed Rony Seikaly (4,544) for second place on Miamis all-time rebounding list. At his current pace, Haslem would have a chance to catch Alonzo Mourning (4,807) by the end of the season. ... Thomas third-quarter barrage was the biggest one-quarter scoring effort by a Kings player since Kevin Martin scored 24 in the fourth against New Orleans on Feb. 23, 2009. ... A number of fans chanted throughout the night that they wanted to see Jimmer Fredette in the game. Fredette did not play. ... Boxer Floyd Mayweather was in attendance, seated near the Kings bench. ' ' '
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