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DUNEDIN, Florida - General manager Alex Anthopoulos believes the 2014 edition of the Blue Jays will contend in the American League East. It begins with starting pitching. "We have the talent," said Anthopoulos. "Last offseason because guys were hurt, we didnt have the bodies. We didnt have Hutchison or Drabek. We knew we needed Romero to bounce back. Happ was coming off a foot injury. We have a lot more bodies and a lot more depth. Beyond our front five last year we were thin. We had Romero who scuffled as our sixth starter coming out of camp. Beyond that, it was Ramon Ortiz and Chien Ming-Wang and we had to sign five minor league free agent starters. We didnt need to do any of that this offseason." One of the catchphrases of the offseason, and now here in Dunedin, is "internal depth," a reference to the clubs young cadre of pitching prospects beginning to bump their heads on the minor league ceiling. Its needed, too, because Anthopoulos seemed to pour the final dose of cold water on upgrading his rotation via an external option, most notably Ervin Santana, the last marquee free agent pitcher on the market. "Wed like to do it but were not going to do it at all costs," said Anthopoulos. "As we sit here today, I think its unlikely at this point, were getting so late into spring training. Anthopoulos continued, "Its a comparison, how much better are they than what you have." We have to make that evaluation. Term and dollars are important. You like every player but at certain years and dollars they dont make sense for us. If its just a draft or something and youre just picking a player, then abilities are a separate thing but theres obviously an acquisition cost to all of these guys." As for the persistent chatter linking the Jays to Santana and other free agent starters like Ubaldo Jimenez (signed with Baltimore) and Matt Garza (signed with Milwaukee,) Anthopoulos suggested the reports were overblown. "To trades? Yes. We got very close on some trades. Free agency-wise, I dont think we ever got close at all." Fans, understandably, dont want to hear excuses for the misery of 2013. It was clear as early as April the club had flaws, not the least of which were starting pitching that didnt match they hype and poor infield defense. Still, health, or lack thereof, played a role. When J.A. Happ was hit in the head with a line drive by Tampa Bays Desmond Jennings on May 7, he joined Josh Johnson on the disabled list. R.A. Dickey already was pitching with an injured muscle in his neck and Brandon Morrow was dealing with forearm pain, which ultimately was diagnosed as an entrapped radial nerve that would end his season weeks later. Only Mark Buehrle was healthy. Brett Lawrie went down with a strained oblique suffered in a World Baseball Classic tune up game in early March and missed opening day. Jose Reyes was lost to a severe ankle sprain on April 12, which necessitated the expedited return of a rehabbing Lawrie. He wasnt ready and would end up getting hurt again. Reyes was back by the time Lawrie returned on July 13, but Lawrie played at second base that day and the two wouldnt play the left side of the infield together until July 19. Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus also missed significant time but their injuries occurred once the Jays were out of the race. Anthopoulos had no intention from diverting from the course set out with the major trades of last offseason. He wants the players hes assembled from years past, most of whom remain here, to get the job done. "We werent going to take away from the core of this team," said Anthopoulos. "We made a change behind the plate; that was important to us. Second base, we think theres obviously going to be turnover there. A third of our lineup is probably going to be different from opening day last year." DEALING WITH INJURIES Theres nothing the Blue Jays could do about Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie injuring their ankles sliding into second base. Nothing could have been done to prevent Brandon Morrows nerve injury. Anthopoulos puts a lot of the aches and pains that befell last years club in the "freak injury" category. The club is concerned about the number of oblique injuries its suffered, however. "Colby (Rasmus) missed about four to six weeks and Rajai (Davis) missed two to three weeks," said Anthopoulos. "There are some things that we tweaked there. Like I talked about at the end of last year, it seems obliques are popping up a lot more or at least theyre being diagnosed a lot more. It felt like for us, the last two years, we were getting a lot more obliques so we reevaluated some of the strength and conditioning work that we were doing and made some tweaks there." Brett Lawries missed time with an oblique strain in each of the last two seasons. He added yoga to his offseason workout regimen in an effort to loosen his core muscles. Brandon Morrow missed almost three months of the 2012 season with an oblique strain. FILLING OUT THE ROTATION Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond appear to be the early favourites to land the final starters job. Both are out of options, meaning they could be lost to waivers if the Jays tried to send them to the minor leagues. They face stiff competition from emerging youngsters like Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman and Kyle Drabek, and could find themselves in the bullpen if they dont win a starting job out of spring training. "We started before with an eight-man bullpen," said Anthopoulos. "We could do that as well. If everyone is throwing the ball that well and we dont want to expose anyone to waivers, or we dont want to trade someone and not get full value, we could go to an eight-man bullpen." HIGH PRAISE FOR GOINS Ryan Goins will have to earn the starting job at second base this spring but his boss loves his defense. "Hes as good defensively, I believe, as weve had here since Orlando Hudson was here," said Anthopoulos. "I think hes that good a defender. Defensively, hes gold glove caliber. The question will be the bat. Obviously weve got some competition for him and if he does make this team we view him right now as the nine-hole hitter. I think with Ryan, because the defense is so good, it allows him to not have to hit as much because he can help us on the other side of the ball to such a great extent." Maicer Izturis, Brent Morel, Chris Getz and Jonathan Diaz also are vying for the second base job. Cheap Air Max Plus Black . -- Brad Gushue of St. Nike Air Max Plus Tn Ultra Cheap . -- Phil Hughes ended a personal losing streak that dated to last July, pitching into the seventh inning Sunday and helping the Twins top the Kansas City Royals 8-3 to avoid a three-game sweep. http://www.cheapairmaxplusshoes.com/cheap-air-max-plus-grey/ . -- Washingtons Bradley Beal seemed to make every shot he took in setting a career high with 37 points. Cheap Air Max Plus Pink . - The Minnesota Vikings have ruled Christian Ponder out for Sundays game at Baltimore, because the quarterback has not yet passed all of his post-concussion tests. Nike Air Max Plus Buy Online . According to TSNs Farhan Lalji, Richardson is heading to Toronto for a physical and is expected to sign with the Argonauts.MONTMELO, Spain -- Sebastian Vettels practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix ended with the four-time defending Formula One champion hitching a ride on a scooter after his Red Bull puttered out. Lewis Hamilton had no such problems, finishing Fridays opening day of practice with the top times from both training sessions as the dominating Mercedes team showed no signs of slowing down. The British driver is looking for his fourth straight win this season. Mercedes teammate and F1 leader Nico Rosberg was right behind, setting the afternoons second best time after his crew fixed a cooling issue. Vettel was running through his fifth lap on the sunny and dry 4.6-kilometre (2.9-mile) Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya when his Red Bull came to a halt. He then helped push his RB10 out of the path of his rivals before a group of fans gathered at the fence to take photographs of the champion using a fire extinguisher on the rear of his malfunctioning car. After Vettel was whisked back to the paddock on the back of a scooter, Hamilton clocked the fastest lap time in the opening session and then bettered that by almost 1.5 seconds in the afternoon with a mark of 1 minute, 25.524 seconds. Red Bull said an electrical problem that "damaged the wiring" of Vettels car meant he couldnt return for the afternoon practice session. That left Vettel with only one session on Saturday before qualifying. "Its a small failure, but a big consequence," Vettel said. Red Bull had given Vettels car an older chassis in a move the German called a "sanity check" to try to find an elusive answer to his cars lack of pace. The Austrian team renowned for its design had a bigger problem than speed, however, when Vettel was left stranded just after the fifth turn. Vettel is having his worst season at Red Bull with only one podium finish so far and sits in a distant fifth place in the standings. He has even had to let new teammate Daniel Ricciardo pass him twice during the last two races. And Ricciardo emerged frrom the opening day of practice as the closest thing the grid can offer as a threat to the Mercedes duo by recording the third best time in both sessions at almost a second behind Hamilton.dddddddddddd Hamilton trails Rosberg by four points despite having won the last three races in front of his teammate. The pair have won all four races and taken all four pole positions this year. Hamilton hasnt lost a step after a three-week break and showed that the other teams have yet to make headway despite their upgrades for the start of the seasons run of European events. "Its been a great day today and Im happy to be back in the car after what feels like quite a long break," said Hamilton. "Our two practice sessions today went very smoothly, in fact Ive not had such a good Friday for a very long time." Last years race winner, Fernando Alonso, had the fourth best effort in both sessions, while Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen could do no better than fifth in the afternoon. Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said he was "not happy" with his team and that he would work closely with new team principal Marco Mattiacci to "improve the situation as soon as possible." Pablo Maldonado of Lotus recorded the most laps through both 90-minute sessions with a total of 76. The early session to prepare for Sundays race featured some close calls. Sergio Perez had to box when the left mirror on his Force India car became detached. The Mexican driver had to grab it and drive one-handed while coming in. Sauber test driver Giedo Van der Garde survived a bigger scare when he told his team he had "a break failure" and ran off course, barely missing the wall. In the second session, Romain Grosjeans Lotus stalled at the end of the pitlane, while Jean-Eric Vergne lost the right rear wheel of his Toro Rosso. Max Chilton twice had to come in due to engine trouble before a piece of his Marussia went flying on his next trip out. He ended the day by driving into the sand. Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Wholesale Discount Basketball Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Baseball Jerseys Free Shipping Cheapest College Jerseys Sale Cheap Football Jerseys China Nike NFL Jerseys Canada Wholesale NHL Jerseys From China MLB Jerseys Outlet Canada Wholesale NBA Jerseys Canada Store Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Cheap Authentic Jerseys Canada ' ' '
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