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Blue Jays begin laying off-season foundation with Robbie Ray re-signing – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO – To help contextualize the Toronto Blue Jays re-signing Robbie Ray to an $8-million, one-year deal on Saturday, here are a couple quick points to consider:

• First, a deal this early in the off-season wouldn’t have happened if the two sides didn’t hit it off in the way they did after the left-hander was acquired at the trade deadline this summer. Ray quickly grew to trust pitching coach Pete Walker and the information the Blue Jays provided him, while the club became increasingly confident that the 29-year-old will return to his dominant past.

• Second, striking now is akin to the early acquisition of Chase Anderson last winter. It’s a foundational add that helps stabilize the pitching staff with some reliable innings, allowing the front office to play out some other scenarios on more stable footing.

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This is not a move without risk for the Blue Jays, who have said improving the club’s strike-throwing is an off-season priority only to bring back the big-league leader – by a wide margin – in walks. Ray walked 45 batters in his 51.2 innings between Arizona and Toronto, although he did shave down his base on balls per nine from 9.0 to 6.1 after the trade.

The allure is in the 68 batters he struck out and how that would play if Ray is more consistently in the zone, the way he was during an all-star campaign in 2017 or in the productive but less spectacular campaigns of 2018 and ’19.

Even if Ray is more of the latter – and pivotal in that regard is the work he did with the Blue Jays on returning to his original windup after a change that led to his struggles – he offers plenty to a rotation that currently includes ace Hyun Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Ross Stripling and Nate Pearson.

Sportsnet Today

How will the Blue Jays pitching staff round up with Robbie Ray’s return?

November 07 2020

That, in all likelihood, is far too thin to leapfrog the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees in the American League East over the course of 162 games, which is why Ray’s return can be seen as a foundational add in the way Anderson was last year.

The Blue Jays’ rotation was in far direr a situation then, when Matt Shoemaker and Trent Thornton appeared to be the only two sure bets to start in 2020. Anderson was picked up to raise the floor and create options, something he did during a replacement-level season in which he played catch-up after an oblique injury at summer camp, pitching to a 7.22 ERA in 10 games, seven of them starts, and striking out 38 batters over 33.2 innings.

Ray offers a far higher ceiling, and a potential bullpen weapon if the rotation doesn’t work out, while his $8 million salary is less than the $8.5 million Anderson was due this year and the $9.5 million option the club declined on the right-hander for next year.

The question, then, is what comes next.

Last year the Blue Jays followed up the Anderson add by chasing several free agent starters — Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Zack Wheeler among them — before landing Ryu and Roark.

Stripling’s versatility gives them the option of pursuing another bounce-back upside play – perhaps someone like Corey Kluber, whom both GM Ross Atkins and president and CEO Mark Shapiro have ties to from Cleveland – or waiting for middle and upper tier markets to develop.

Or, they could switch gears and zero in on one of their needs in the infield or outfield, having a better sense of their pitching situation. Given the internal emphasis on process, the Blue Jays wouldn’t have made this move in isolation of their grander aspirations.

Sportsnet Today

What did the Blue Jays see in Robbie Ray to bring him back?

November 07 2020

A couple of other points of interest as it relates to Ray:

• Is this deal an indicator that the Blue Jays don’t intend to wait on a market expected to be slow, instead swimming against the industry’s conservative current? There’s a case to be made that being aggressive early might entice players to grab a bird in hand, rather than drag things out in the hopes of a better deal.

• Does the decision by Ray, a father of three, to return despite the uncertainty around where the club will play in 2021 mean the issue won’t be a major factor for the Blue Jays in the market? Familiarity is definitely a factor in this case and it’s only a one-year deal, but that Ray didn’t balk over the issue, and thought enough of the roster to want to return, may play well for the club with other available players.

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Report: Ravens Discipline Strength and Conditioning Coach for COVID-19 Conduct – Sports Illustrated

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The Baltimore Ravens announced on Wednesday night that they disciplined “a staff member for conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff at the Ravens.”

Sources later told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that the Ravens disciplined a strength and conditioning coach “for not reporting symptoms and not consistently wearing a mask or tracking device.”

This comes hours after the NFL announced the Ravens-Steelers matchup that was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night has been postponed until Sunday afternoon

ESPN’s Adam Schefter originally reported that the Ravens had five players and four staffers test positive for COVID-19 this week. 

But by Wednesday evening, seven Ravens were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list with positive tests or close contacts following tracing, including running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and offensive linemen Matt Skura and Patrick Mekari.

Multiple Steelers players expressed their frustration on Twitter. 

The Ravens have lost three of their four previous games and were scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday before Thursday’s matchup. The Steelers enter the AFC North divisional matchup undefeated. 

While the Ravens were proactive with their internal discipline, they could still face penalties from the league.

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Hockey Canada shuts down camp, mandates 14-day quarantine after positive tests – CBC.ca

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Hockey Canada has temporarily shutdown national junior team selection camp following the confirmation of two positive COVID-19 tests among players.

Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that players, coaches and staff at the camp have entered a 14-day quarantine retroactive to Monday. All camp activities will be paused until Dec. 6.

The original announcement of the positive player tests came on Tuesday — three days after Hockey Canada said a “non-core member” of the team’s staff also tested positive. Hockey Canada said it was suspending all camp activities for the day, including a scheduled intrasquad game, at the time.

Both players and the staff have been in quarantine at the team’s hotel in Red Deer, Alta.

Players, coaches and staff all took mandatory COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the camp and have been tested regularly while there.

Hockey Canada is in the midst of their selection camp ahead of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton that opens on Christmas Day.

“Hockey Canada has confirmed that all players, coaches and staff are considered close contacts and are therefore subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period under Alberta Health Services,” said senior vice-president of national teams, Scott Salmond.

“Upon learning of the positive tests on Monday, the decision was made to suspend all camp activities and quarantine players and staff immediately. As per Hockey Canada’s safety protocols, all players, coaches and staff members will go through additional testing before resuming any camp activities.”

Canada seeks its second consecutive gold medal at the tournament, which would be its 19th title all-time.

WATCH | Steve DeBus remembers the Michigan goal:

In episode 5 of our new series, Rob Pizzo speaks to former Minnesota Golden Gopher  goalie Steve DeBus about the infamous Mike Legg lacrosse goal in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.   4:37

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Hockey Canada suspends world junior selection camp after positive COVID-19 tests – CityNews Toronto

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Hockey Canada has temporarily shutdown national junior team selection camp following the confirmation of two positive COVID-19 tests among players.

Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that players, coaches and staff at the camp have entered a 14-day quarantine retroactive to Monday. All camp activities will be paused until Dec. 6.

The original announcement of the positive player tests came on Tuesday – three days after Hockey Canada said a “non-core member” of the team’s staff also tested positive. Hockey Canada said it was suspending all camp activities for the day, including a scheduled intrasquad game, at the time.

Both players and the staff have been in quarantine at the team’s hotel in Red Deer, Alta.

Players, coaches and staff all took mandatory COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the camp and have been tested regularly while there.

Hockey Canada is in the midst of their selection camp ahead of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton that opens on Christmas Day.

“Hockey Canada has confirmed that all players, coaches and staff are considered close contacts and are therefore subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period under Alberta Health Services,” said senior vice-president of national teams, Scott Salmond.

“Upon learning of the positive tests on Monday, the decision was made to suspend all camp activities and quarantine players and staff immediately. As per Hockey Canada’s safety protocols, all players, coaches and staff members will go through additional testing before resuming any camp activities.”

Canada seeks its second consecutive gold medal at the tournament, which would be its 19th title all-time.

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