TORONTO – With the Toronto Blue Jays headed to Montreal for a pair of exhibition games against the New York Mets next spring, could some pre-season action find its way to Vancouver in years to come?
There is certainly interest in the idea, but the main obstacle is in finding a venue, since B.C. Place Stadium can’t really accommodate baseball. The recently refurbished facility’s scoreboard is the main problem, as it would hang directly over second base in a baseball configuration.
While not necessarily impossible, the sense is a lot would have to happen in order to make it work.
The Blue Jays routinely draw large swaths of Canadian fans from out west to their road games in Seattle, and an exhibition series with the Mariners at spring’s end would make a lot of sense.
In announcing next March’s two-game set with the Mets at Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said, “We’d like to the game across the country, we’d like to make this an annual event if we can.”
At this point, a return to Montreal in 2015 may be the best option for that.
Beeston also promised an improved roster for the 2014 games in Montreal, to be held March 28 and 29.
“We thought we had a championship team this year,” he said. “But we’re going at it again next year, we’re going to be rebuilding, we’re going to be doing the right thing, and when I say rebuilding that doesn’t mean reconstructing, (it means) building on our strengths so we can bring in here something that we can all be proud of.”
COLBY GETS CLOSER: Centre-fielder Colby Rasmus could be ready to return to the Blue Jays lineup from an oblique injury by the end of the week.
Rasmus, on the DL since Aug. 11, did a full array of workouts Tuesday after coming in Monday to do some hitting. He started swinging the bat about five days ago, and is pleased with his progress.
“I feel good, I’m not trying to go above and beyond, I’m just trying to get my legs back used to the turf and feeling right and getting ready to play,” he said. “I’m not setting no timeline on it, just getting myself ready and if I feel good, got out there and try to play.”
Rasmus said he’s been much smarter in handling this oblique injury as opposed to previous ones he’s had.
“Going through the process, in the past I’ve played through oblique injuries and never really took the time to slow it down and heal it up during the season,” he explained. “So it was a different experience (shutting it down), a learning experience but right now as I’m standing here, I feel good.”
2014 SKED: The Blue Jays will open the 2014 season with a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field starting March 31, with their home opener set for April 4 against the New York Yankees.
Their interleague opponents at home are Philadelphia, St. Louis, Milwaukee and the Cubs, while they visit the Phillies, Brewers, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The schedule includes a pair of 10-game road trips, one in June, the other at the end of July/start of August, and they wrap up the year with four games at home against Seattle and three versus the Orioles.