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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. Wholesale Royals Jerseys . - Doug Kalitta led Top Fuel qualifying Friday in the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway with a 3. Royals Jerseys China .com) - After Tom Brady added to an already illustrious legacy, Malcolm Butler established his by leaving the Seattle Seahawks, well, deflated. https://www.cheaproyals.com/ . Not because it was right, but because referees werent allowed to determine it was wrong. Royals Jerseys 2019 . Viewers in the Canadiens region can watch the game on TSN at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt and listen on TSN 690. The Canadiens have won three in a row and four of their last five games and recently put the finishing touches on a 3-1-0 road trip. Royals Jerseys 2020 . Howard hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night. ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler had quite a greeting for his former team, one not well-received by some. Kinsler homered in the first at-bat of his return to Texas as an opponent, then waved at the Rangers dugout while beginning his trot around the bases, and the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers went to win 8-2 on Tuesday night for their fifth consecutive victory. "It was nothing personal at all. I was just saying Hi," Kinsler said, insisting he was motioning to no one in particular. "I mean, it was my return home, and get lucky enough to square one up like that and have it go over the fence, it was a good feeling. I was just having fun." Kinsler spent the first eight seasons of his career in Texas before being traded for Prince Fielder in a swap of All-Stars last winter. He got more cheers than boos when he was introduced in the first inning, then sent a pitch by Colby Lewis (5-5) into the left-field seats for his ninth homer. "I love Kins, Im just a little bit disappointed," Lewis said of the second basemans wave, though there was no apparent reaction at the time from those in the dugout. Rangers manager Ron Washington said he had no comment about Kinsler. J.D. Martinez had a tiebreaking two-run shot off Lewis that made it 3-1, and started a five-run outburst by the Tigers in the seventh. Boos were more prevalent during Kinslers last four plate appearances -- a popout, groundout and a strikeout before he added a two-run single in the eighth. "It was funny, because it seemed like that with every at-bat, it went from mixed boos and cheers to more boos every at-bat deeper in the game for him," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Im sure that the Rangers fans appreciate what he did. He was an All-Star here and they went to the World Series." Adrian Beltre went 4 for 4 for Texas, pushiing his career total to 2,503 hits, but the Rangers have a season-worst, six-game losing streak.dddddddddddd Martinezs eighth homer of the season came a pitch after Victor Martinez doubled. Lewis was gone after a single by Austin Jackson. Reliever Ben Rowen then gave up three consecutive hits, including RBI singles by Alex Avila and Rajai Davis, and Victor Martinez drew a bases-loaded walk off Shawn Tolleson. Drew Smyly (4-6) allowed only one unearned run over six innings. He never trailed after the Kinsler homer. "Thats awesome. I bet hes loving that," Smyly said. "He set the tone, got us on the board early and then from there it was a good game until the seventh, and we were able to get some big hits and break it open." A week after signing a minor league deal, Carlos Pena was called up from Triple-A Round Rock earlier Tuesday and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. The first baseman was a first-round draft pick by the Rangers in 1998 and made his major league debut late in the 2001 season before being traded that winter. Only Sammy Sosa (1989 to 2007) went longer between games for Texas. NOTES: The Rangers played the first of 20 games over 20 consecutive days. At 35-41, they are six games below .500 for the first time since September 2008. Texas is 16-20 at home. ... Davis was caught stealing in the sixth after a safe ruling was overturned. Davis clearly beat the throw with his headfirst slide, but Washington challenged and replay showed Davis hand popped up and was briefly off the bag while 2B Rougned Odor still had the tag applied. ... There was no pregame BP on the field because of showers, but the game started on time despite a light rain falling at first pitch. The Rangers are the only team in the majors without a delay or postponement of any kind this season. ' ' '
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