hy as they can be since forwards Jonathan Toew

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lw789
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hy as they can be since forwards Jonathan Toew

Postby lw789 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:02 am

CLEARWATER, Florida – Jose Bautista isnt getting worked up about his red hot spring training. After all, established players dont concern themselves with Grapefruit League statistics. "Im just trying to make sure I keep working on my game plan and my mental preparation for each at-bat and the situation that I have in front of me," said Bautista, before offering a glimpse into the extent of his own expectations. "Its been a little bit inconsistent but thats to be expected in spring training." After Thursdays 3-1 win over the Phillies, which marked the first time this season Bautista had played into the eighth inning, hes hitting .304/.465/.717 (1.182 OPS) with five home runs and 11 RBI. Hes looking to regain the form from 2010 and 2011 that catapulted him to superstardom. He led baseball with 54 and 43 home runs, respectively, in those two seasons and in 2011 led baseball with an otherworldly 1.056 OPS. Those are lofty standards and Bautista has battled injuries (wrist, hip) since then but he feels he still can be a consistent threat. "Overall, I feel pretty good about camp and Im seeing the ball well and I think Im staying within the strike zone," said Bautista. "Any time Im doing that I normally do well." Bautista has had a strong start in the field, too. Showing no ill effects from a jammed hip that cost him the final six weeks of last season, he made a great sliding catch on a Jimmy Rollins shallow fly ball in the first inning of Thursdays game; then in the third was credited with his fourth outfield assist of the season on a play at second base. There is legitimate concern about the state of the starting pitching heading into the regular season but Bautista believes improved defence will help the rotation. "Im healthy. So is Colby. So is Melky and the little bit of games he played (last year) he was hurt the whole time. Same with Brett; he started the season on the DL. Jose (got hurt) in the third week of the season and we missed him a lot," said Bautista. "We had two new guys getting used to the turf in Maicer (Izturis) and Bonifacio who struggled a little bit at second. Now, Maicer is more used to it; Goins is really good defensively and the rest of the infield is healthy and ready to go. We have Dioner (Navarro) at catcher. Thats different than J.P. (Arencibia) and J.P. didnt have his best defensive year last year and thats no secret. Not that hes bad defensively, he just didnt have a good year defensively. Overall, we should be better but at the same time we cant just be complacent and think that its going to automatically happen." Earlier this spring, veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey told TSN.ca he believed this incarnation of the Blue Jays could be "blown up" if it underperforms for a second consecutive season. Bautista, about to begin what would be his sixth full season in Toronto, said he doesnt dwell on negative thoughts. "Plus, thats a question better suited for Alex Anthopoulos, not me, because I cant make decisions when it comes to anything like that," he said. Bautista hopes to be spending his 34th birthday, on October 19, in a playoff setting. Nobodys found the tonic to slow down Father Time but Bautista has no more a sense of urgency to win now, in his mid-30s, than he did in his younger days. "Its always your number one driver is wanting to win," said Bautista. "I feel that this team is capable of winning, this organization is pretty close to accomplishing that. Let me just say theres nowhere else Id rather be than on this team." Bautista is aware that fans are anxious after the clubs relatively quiet offseason. He reads his Twitter account. "They have to trust the team," he said. "They have to be not only fans but they also have to love their organization and love the team and love their players. Hopefully theyve created some sort of bond with us over the last couple of years because a lot of us have been here for a while. Hopefully they get to know us as people, as athletes and they believe in us as much as we believe in ourselves. Were going to go out and leave it out on the field every single day and hopefully they can do the same either at home or at the stadium when they come out to support us." McGOWAN TO LONG RELIEF Dustin McGowan has been saying since late last season hed like to take one more shot, likely a final shot, at returning to the starting rotation. Manager John Gibbons has been hesitant to embrace the idea and with time running out in spring training, the focus is on building up McGowan to be one of the long men out of the bullpen. "Hes kind of in limbo there," said Gibbons. "We want to be able to stretch him out anyway. If hes in the pen for multiple innings that would benefit us quite a bit down there. We know he can do two. If he can do three that would do wonders for us." McGowan, who turns 32 on Monday, threw three scoreless innings against the Phillies in Clearwater on Thursday. He considered the accomplishment a milestone. "It felt good to finally go three innings," said McGowan. "Its been quite a few years since I reached that mark." After multiple shoulder surgeries which cost him the entirety of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, most of 2011 and all of 2012, McGowan returned in 2013 as a reliever, posting a 2.45 ERA in 25 appearances. "Im kind of interested to see how Im going to feel tomorrow," said McGowan. "The way I feel right now I think Im going to be just fine. I can usually tell right after I come out of the game how Im going to feel. Its one of those days I feel good." He won 12 games for the Blue Jays back in 2007. Gibbons managed that team. "We think hes beyond that kind of stuff and I thought he thrived in the bullpen," said Gibbons. "I thought that was a good role for him." McGowan was set back this spring by a stomach virus that kept him away for the club for a couple of days and resulted in him dropping eight pounds. The calendar isnt his friend. "He had desire to do it," said Gibbons of McGowan starting. "A lot of people had desire to see if he could do it but myself, personally, kind of had some reservations." THE RUNNING GAME The Blue Jays stole 112 bases last season, which tied the club for ninth with Colorado. More than half of those stolen bases, a combined 57, are gone with the departures of Rajai Davis (45) via free agency and Emilio Bonifacio (12), who was traded last August. Anthony Gose stole four bases last year and is expected to begin the season with Triple-A Buffalo. "Thats not one of our strengths," said manager John Gibbons. "Our speed has definitely dropped off. Thats now how the team is built." Toronto was fourth in the major leagues in home runs (185) last season, a number which figures to climb if the club gets injury-free seasons from Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie. "The teams built for those guys in the middle to drive in a bunch of runs, hit some home runs and Reyes to get things going. We think were strong. Weve got some pop. Weve got some guys that can produce some runs, top to bottom in the lineup." Still, Gibbons wants to mitigate the all-or-nothing approach he feels his team had too often last season. "Well cut down on the strikeouts a little bit I think will definitely help us and (hitting coach Kevin) Seitzers really good about that and hes working some game plans but that takes time," said Gibbons. "I think these guys have all been receptive to him." ROTATION JUGGLING Drew Hutchison has been dropped from his major league start on Saturday in favour of Todd Redmond. Redmond was scheduled to pitch against the Rays on Friday in Port Charlotte but has been pushed back a day. Aaron Sanchez will start on Friday, while Hutchison will pitch on Saturday but in a Triple-A game. While the Blue Jays havent confirmed publicly that Hutchison has made the team, the fact the coaching staff doesnt feel the need to see him versus major league talent this close to opening day bodes well for the 23-year-old. Allie Long Jersey . The thinking at the time was Clowney could have already been promised he would be selected first overall by the Houston Texans, therefore negating any need to meet with any other teams. The plot took another twist this week. Kelley OHara Jersey . The closer wasnt available. The road trip, a disaster to that point. http://www.socceruswntshop.com/becky-sa ... sa-jersey/. Here at TSN.ca we will take a look back at the season by bringing together a panel of experts to help pick the best 50 players of the season. Alyssa Naeher Jersey .com) - Nate Buss 3-pointer with 5. Lindsey Horan Jersey . Head coach Lindy Ruff confirmed on Sunday that his starting goalie has a head injury and the team will take it day by day.The St. Louis Blues need to put a rough ending to the regular season behind them if they want to get past the defending Stanley Cup champions in the opening round of the playoffs. The struggling Blues hope to get back on track when they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Thursdays Game 1 encounter at Scottrade Center. Heading into the final week of the regular season, St. Louis was in the running to capture the Presidents Trophy as the leagues top point-earning team. Instead, an 0-6-0 skid knocked the Blues out of first place in the Central Division, where they finished a point behind the Colorado Avalanche to earn a much-tougher first-round matchup against a Chicago team that has won two of the last four Stanley Cup titles. St. Louis went 3-2-0 in the season series against the Blackhawks, with two of those wins coming in a shootout. Chicago, though, has won seven of the 10 all- time playoff series between the Central Division rivals. While this will mark the 11th all-time playoff series for these two clubs, they are meeting for the first time since the Blues ousted the Blackhawks in five games of the 2002 conference quarterfinals. The good news for St. Louis is that it is getting healthy. Vladimir Tarasenko is set to return while forwards David Backes, Vladimir Sobotka, Brenden Morrow and Patrik Berglund are considered questionable for the start of this series. T.J. Oshie has been ruled out for the game however. "Were going to have everyone back at some point in the first round," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said on Wednesday. Ryan Miller was acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline and enters this series as the No. 1 netminder for the Blues. St. Louis hopes Miller can help the club get out of the first round after it fell in six games to Los Angeles in the opening series last spring.dddddddddddd Miller was 10-8-1 with a 2.47 goals against average and .903 save percentage in 19 starts with the Blues and is 25-22 lifetime in the postseason with a 2.47 GAA and .917 save percentage. That includes two deep runs with the Sabres in 2006 and 07. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford didnt slow down after helping Chicago win the Cup a season ago as he went 32-16-10 with a 2.26 goals against average and .917 save percentage in 59 games, including 56 starts. Crawford is 21-15 with a 2.04 GAA in the postseason. Like the Blues, Chicago played the end of the regular season without some key players but the Blackhawks are as healthy as they can be since forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been declared ready to go for Game 1. Kane missed the final 12 games of the regular season with a lower-body injury, while Toews sat out the last six with an upper-body issue. Toews, the team captain, won the Conn Smythe Trophy when Chicago won it all in 2010 and Kane claimed the playoff MVP award last spring. "Im excited to get things going," said the reigning Conn Smythe winner. "Ive watched a lot of hockey lately, so its going to be nice to play in some games now." The return of Kane and Toews bulks up Chicagos talented top-six that also includes Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and the up-and-coming Brandon Saad. Chicago won the Central Division last season in a lockout-shortened campaign and battled its way to a second Stanley Cup title in four years. The Blackhawks hope to become the first repeat champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98. The Blues, who were 28-9-4 at home this season, will host Game 2 of this series on Saturday. Chicago was 19-14-8 on the road in 2013-14. 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