CLEARWATER, Florida – Jose Bautista isnt getting worked up about his red hot spring training. Air Max Pas Cher Chine . 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. Air Max 90 Promo . Lineup news, Fantasy tips and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking. HEROES Blake Comeau – The Penguins winger had a hat trick in a 4-3 overtime win against Toronto. Fausse Air Force 1 Pas Cher . According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, the deal will pay Schenn $2.25 million in the first year and $2.75 million in the second year. In 82 games with the Flyers in 2013-14, Schenn scored 20 goals and added 21 assists.Zach Collaros was a coveted prize ahead of the CFLs upcoming free agency period on February 15. And the bidding season began early when the Toronto Argonauts chose to release their backup quarterback Wednesday. But, ultimately, the 25-year-old Cincinnati product came to a quick decision on his future, as Collaros signed a deal with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that will have him in Steeltown through 2016. The team announced later in the day that they had released their incumbent QB Henry Burris, who has since been offered a substantial multi-year deal by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, according to TSNs Farhan Lalji. “I cant wait to work with [Hamilton head coach Kent Austin], and the talent [Hamilton] already have on their roster,” Collaros told TSN Thursday, before flying to Hamilton for a team physical and press conference Friday morning. Both Hamilton and Winnipeg contacted Collaros hours after he was released by the Argos. Collaros left the negotiations to his agents, Mike Simon and Greg Diulus, and decided to focus on discussing his potential place in both the Ticats and Bombers offence. Collaros said speaking with Austin, the Grey Cup-winning quarterback and head coach, was like revisiting his college recruitment process. After Austin first spoke to Collaros Wednesday, the quarterback told TSN he was leaning "heavily" toward signing with Hamilton. Collaros came to a decision Wednesday night. “It wasnt a long process. It was kind of a crazy 24 hours. I couldnt be happier where I am,” Collaros said. “Coach Austin is an unbelievable coach. “We talked pretty extensively, and he did a really good job of recruiting. Who hes worked with, obviously the numbers the quarterbacks under him have put up, and the success hes had winning games; it was kind of a no brainer when it came down to it.” Winnipeg was long considered the frontrunner to sign Collaros, especially after Ottawa Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins insisted he would take no free agents during Decembers dispersal draft —opting instead for veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn, and B.C.s Thomas DeMarco - and Calgary re-signed both Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell. Nevertheless, several CFL sources insisted Hamiltons interest in Collaros extended back before the Ticats advanced to the 101st Grey Cup. And now that Austin has signed the player he wants, 38-year-old Henry Burris is looking for a new starting job, again. “The first thing I would say is [Burris] is a little sad,” Burriss agent Chris Gittings told TSN. Gittings said there had been discussions “off and on” between the Ticats and Burris about a new contract before the start of the 2013 season. “[Burris] understands how professional football works, and coming up on free agency we were prepared that anything could happen. It jjust means in [Burriss] amazing career he is going to have a new chapter. Fausse Balenciaga Triple s . ” Austin spoke directly to Burris about his release Thursday morning, but the veteran pivot didnt share Austins reasoning, if any, to his agent. Burris threw nearly 5,000 yards in 2013, despite sharing snaps with Dan LeFervour and Jeremiah Masoli. But Gittings never heard Burris express any frustrations. “Kent does a good job in that system, and there is a lot to like about it in terms of rotating quarterbacks,” Gittings said. “I never heard any complaining from Henry about it. You just dont hear any complaints from Henry, period." After being traded by Calgary before the 2012 season, Burris threw 10,292 yards, tossing 67 touchdowns and 37 interceptions in two season in southern Ontario. “Look at how [Burris] has played over the last two years," Gittings said. "Look at how he played in the Eastern Final [against Toronto]. That doesnt lie. It is tough to say its an exaggeration. He has played among the top quarterbacks in the CFL year in and year out, and the last two years have been fantastic years from him.” Gittings did not deny widely-reported interest from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and insisted other teams have shown interest in Burris, although he would not name or number any other suitors. “For any team out there that is looking to get a starting quarterback or upgrade their starting quarterback position you would think they would be interested in Henry,” Gittings said. Nonetheless, Collaross arrival in Hamilton does not necessarily mean he is automatically the Ticats starter. Austin did not explicitly tell Collaros where he falls on Hamiltons quarterback depth chart, which still includes LeFevour, and Masoli, as well as former NFLers Stephen McGee and Brian Brohm. “[Austin] really didnt discuss [who Hamiltons starter will be],” Collaros said. “It was just moreso: ‘We want you here in Hamilton, and ‘We think its a good situation for you.” Although the market for starting pivots this CFL offseason was admittedly slim, Collaross stock rose with several impressive displays in 2013. With Toronto star quarterback Ricky Ray out with a knee then shoulder injury, Collaros started seven games, appeared in 14 games, and threw 2,316 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. He led Toronto to a league-record four-game, road win streak between late August and late September. After his obligations in Hamilton Friday, Collaros will head back to his offseason home in Ohio, but will immediately commit time to return to Hamilton in the spring to start his work with Austin and Ticats offensive coordinator Tommy Condell. “Im looking forward to meeting anybody and getting to work,” Collaros said. ' ' '
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