From Comcast SportsNetTORONTO (AP) -- John Gibbons was hired as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays for the second time Tuesday, returning to a team that just invigorated its roster after a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins.Gibbons managed Toronto 2004-2008 and had a 305-305 record, making him the third winningest manager in franchise history.He succeeds John Farrell, who spurned Toronto for his dream managing job in Boston. Gibbons, however, takes over a very different team from the one Farrell managed.The surprise announcement came a day after the Blue Jays completed a mega deal in which they acquired All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from Miami. Toronto agreed to the trade last week and Commissioner Bud Selig approved it Monday. The Blue Jays, extraordinarily busy in this offseason, also announced the signing of free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera.Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos had said he wanted someone who was familiar with the organization and city. Anthopolous was an assistant GM when Gibbons managed Toronto. Gibbons joins Cito Gaston as managers serving two stints with the Blue Jays.His best season was in 2006, when Toronto went 87-75 to finish second in the division -- the same season he had a well-publicized blowup with players Shea Hillenbrand Ted Lilly.Gibbons most recently managed the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League (AA) in the San Diego Padres' organization last season. He also had three seasons as the Kansas City Royals' bench coach.Gibbons joined the Blue Jays' coaching staff in 2002 as a bullpen catcher and was promoted midseason to first base coach. He served in that capacity until replacing Carlos Tosca in 2004. Before joining the Blue Jays the first time, Gibbons spent 11 seasons working with the New York Mets.
NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.
Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.
The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.
The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.
Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."
"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.
Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.
Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.
There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.
Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.
"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.
Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.
"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.
Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.
"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."
As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.
Since Larry Miller died back in 2009, there have been some around the league that thought the Jazz might eventually be sold out of the family, most likely to an owner looking to move them out of Utah. The Miller family has denied that vehemently, and there has been not even a step that direction, but it’s easier to kill Freddy Krueger than an NBA rumor.
Monday, the Miller family killed that rumor for good, taking an unprecedented step that will keep the Jazz in Utah for a long, long, time.
Gail Miller has transferred ownership of the Utah Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena into a Legacy Trust that will keep the Jazz in Utah for what she said would be “generations.”
“As a family, we have always considered the Utah Jazz a community asset and it has been our privilege to serve as stewards of this team for more than 30 years,” Miller said. “There have been many opportunities to sell and move the franchise, but from the day Larry and I purchased the Jazz our goal was to keep the team in Utah. The Legacy Trust will help to ensure this commitment is kept for generations to come.”
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