Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Want to stay? Perform, says Jays' boss

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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Manager John Gibbons offered more proof of the Blue Jays' all-in approach to this season Tuesday, saying the team's final squad will be determined by talent rather than any roster red tape.

At times, some roster choices are made with an eye on whether a player has any options left, meaning he can be on the 40-man roster but move between the major and minor leagues without being placed on waivers. A team might elect to keep such a player rather than risk losing him to another team by sending him down.

According to mlb.com, a player is assigned three options as a rostered player. Each year, when a player who is on the roster gets sent to the minor leagues for a stint of more than 20 days, it counts as an option.

Gibbons says those who perform will stick with the big club. Of course, given Toronto's off-season acquisitions, there aren't too many roster questions to answer in pre-season.

"It's an important year for us," Gibbons told reporters. "So we're going to go with the best team. ... In the past or it's a year where you don't know for sure, you're not as optimistic, you might want to try to hold onto some guys because they're out of options.

'Got to perform'

"This year we've got to go with the best team. I think he (GM Alex Anthopoulos) agrees with that, so some of those guys have got to perform."

The Jays have dug deep into their wallet this season, bringing in the likes of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Melky Cabrera and Jose Reyes in a bid to challenge for the post-season.

Gibbons also revealed Tuesday that Brandon Morrow will start for the Jays in their spring training opener against Detroit in Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday.

Buehrle will then start Sunday in a split-squad game against the visiting Baltimore Orioles. J.A. Happ will start in the other split-squad game that day, in Tampa against the New York Yankees.

Either knuckleballer Dickey or Johnson will start Monday at home against a split Boston Red Sox squad.

Gibbons has already said Dickey, who went 20-6 and won the Cy Young Award last season with the New York Mets, will start opening day.

Also Tuesday, the Jays announced that former Toronto pitcher Paul Quantrill has been appointed a consultant to the team.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2013 C7

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