TORONTO -- Prior to Thursday's contest vs. the Red Sox, the Blue Jays and Jays Care Foundation held their annual wrapup party for their Baseball Academy Rookie League.
Joined by Neil Wagner, Thad Weber, and Mickey Storey, the Blue Jays went to all lengths to ensure that the kids walked away with a fond memory of their seven-week introduction to baseball.
"We try to make a big deal out of it. It's a little bit of pageantry to make them feel more important, make them feel special," executive director of Jays Care Foundation Rob Drynan said.
On Thursday, they pulled out all the stops, from kids having their throws clocked by a police radar gun; an afternoon on Toronto Island with some inflatables; some skills contests on the Rogers Centre turf; and ending with the Blue Jays game.
For many of the kids, stepping onto the field that the Blue Jays play on was a big part of the experience.
"All of a sudden they get on the field, the same turf their heroes play on, it's really powerful," Drynan said, who spent much of his day interacting with the kids. "It's a very unique opportunity. There's not too many people that get to run around on that field. For them to do it, it feels very special."
The 25th edition of Rookie League saw 1,200 kids, spread across 56 Toronto Community Housing neighborhoods in under-resourced communities.
"The idea is we teach baseball skills, but it's also about giving these kids a safe place to be active and healthy over the summertime," Drynan said.
Blue Jays recall Gose to add to outfield depth
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays recalled Anthony Gose from Triple-A Buffalo following Thursday night's 2-1 victory over the Red Sox.
With Emilio Bonifacio's departure to Kansas City and Colby Rasmus on the DL, the Blue Jays were fielding a roster with only three outfielders and nine relievers, so the move comes as no surprise.
Gose is expected to share duties in center field with Rajai Davis, and hit against righties.
The speedy 23-year-old Gose was batting .239 with a .316 on-base percentage, three home runs, 27 RBIs, 64 runs scored, and 22 stolen bases in 35 tries for Buffalo. He hit .304 in 26 plate appearances earlier this season for the Blue Jays, and is a career .233 hitter in 69 games in the Major Leagues.
Mickey Storey was sent down to Buffalo to make room for Gose, the righty having pitched only one-third of an inning since joining the club last Saturday.
Gibbons: Expanded replay should be 'good'
TORONTO -- On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced plans that would completely overhaul instant replay in baseball.
In a groundbreaking news conference, Commissioner Bud Selig said Major League owners were briefed on a proposal that would see a dramatic increase on the plays that can be reviewed.
As part of the plan, the manager will have three challenges a game, one in the first six innings, and two from the seventh onward, with the manager retaining his challenge if he wins his appeal.
With just home run calls presently being reviewable, it's a giant step toward making sure a game isn't affected by a missed call.
"I think it'll be good," Toronto skipper John Gibbons said. "I'm sure they'll put a limit on what you can actually question, [but] at least [you'll] get it right. The game is long now anyways, what's an extra 20 minutes?"
What makes the new precedent different is that the control of the challenges is directly in the hands of the manager, and the reviews will be facilitated by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, who will have a direct secure line with the umpire to cue up replays.
Braves president John Schuerholz said that the proposal, if accepted, would cover 89 percent of the calls that are missed currently.
"I think you look at some bang-bang plays at the bases in a crucial part of the game," Gibbons said when asked what would be the most challenged play. "It's hard to say, it really is. I think the magnitude of the game, the situation, will dictate when you argue."
Although the new replay system won't start until the 2014 season, at the earliest -- the owners will formally vote on the issue at the next meeting in November -- Gibbons imagines he'll be relying partially on his players' reaction to the play.
"It's tough to see at some angles," Gibbons said. "You can see up the line, first-base line, you think you have an idea on bang-bang plays, but everybody's eyes go. It's a pretty good distance."
JJ's initial MRI reveals forearm strain, no tear
TORONTO -- Josh Johnson's season may be in jeopardy, but he got some good news on Thursday.
Johnson's MRI results indicated that the discomfort in his throwing arm was simply a forearm strain.
The tall right-hander has been sidelined with the injury the past couple of days. He aggravated it while playing catch prior to Tuesday's game vs. the Red Sox, and was placed on the 15-day DL the following day.
The results are good news for the pending free agent, who had Tommy John surgery back in 2007 while a member of the Marlins. With there being no tear, Johnson, at worst, would be available to pitch next season and avoid surgery.
The 29-year-old has no concerns that this injury was more serious than the club and he originally thought.
"No. It's kind of exactly where it was," Johnson said when asked if he had any concerns. "Kind of away from all the repair and everything [from 2007]. Never felt anything in there."
However, that doesn't mean Johnson is fully out of the woods. As a precaution, the Blue Jays are sending his MRI results to Dr. James Andrews to make sure he and the Blue Jays' doctors have the same opinion.
"I think they do that almost every time," Johnson said. "Just to get another set of eyes on it, especially his. He's been around and knows a lot about the elbow."
Andrews is a renowned specialist when it comes to pitching injuries, and should be well acquainted with Johnson's arm having performed his surgery.
While Toronto awaits the second diagnosis, Johnson will follow the team to Florida for their three-game set with the Rays.