Blue Jays news and notes from January 26th, 2019, including a former Blue Jays pitcher returning to the organization (at least temporarily), and an update on the status of some former players on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Dwight Smith Jr. to Change Uniform Number
Blue Jays outfielder Dwight Smith Jr., who wore #27 during the 2018 season, will wear #18 in 2019 to honour his father, former major leaguer Dwight Smith, he announced on Twitter. Smith Jr., 26, appeared in 35 games for the Blue Jays in 2018, slashing .262/.347/.447.
Dodgers Sign Josh Thole
Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, catcher Josh Thole is signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a minor-league contract that could be worth $600,000 if he reaches the major leagues. Thole, 32, appeared in 170 games for the Blue Jays in parts of four seasons, posting an OPS of .522 in 420 at-bats.
Lilly, Oliver Shown No Love on Ballots
Former Blue Jays Ted Lilly, who played with the team from 2004 to 2006, and Darren Oliver, who spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons in Toronto, both received zero votes on the recent Hall of Fame ballot. Both were appearing on their first Hall of Fame ballots.
Sportsnet to Broadcast Four Spring Training Games
According to Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae, Sportsnet will be broadcasting just four Blue Jays spring training games in 2019, including two games in Montreal on March 25 and 26. Mae adds that the network will be “picking up more games when the team is on the road.”
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Ricky Romero to Appear on Canadians’ Broadcasts
Ricky Romero, who played parts of five seasons with the Blue Jays, will appear on six televised broadcasts for the Short Season-A Vancouver Canadians as a colour analyst in 2019, the team announced Friday. Romero, 34, announced his retirement from baseball on December 31, 2018.
Former Blue Jay Bo Schultz Signs With Orioles
Right-handed pitcher Bo Schultz, who pitched to an ERA of 3.56 in 43 frames with the Blue Jays in 2015, has signed on with the Baltimore Orioles, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. Now 33, Schultz spent the 2018 season in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, appearing in 24 games with their Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians.
Jose Reyes Hopes to Play in 2019
One of the most controversial and conflicting Blue Jays in recent memory, shortstop Jose Reyes, who spent the 2018 season with the New York Mets, would like to keep playing in 2019, per Anthony Rieber of Newsday. Reyes posted a .580 OPS in 251 plate appearances spread across 110 games in 2018.