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Blue Jays GM Atkins sees many benefits to Guerrero Jr.’s weight loss – Sportsnet.ca

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DUNEDIN, Fla. — General manager Ross Atkins can’t wait to see slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.‘s busy off-season translate on the baseball field this year for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Guerrero spent a lot of his time shedding weight, certainly looking fit and fit and trim in pictures posted on his Instagram account. The 21-year-old has reportedly dropped 40 pounds from last season.

That certainly bodes well for the Blue Jays, who have pitchers and catchers arriving at camp this week. The team’s first full-squad workout is set for Monday.

“It’s incredible to see the smile on his face, the shape he’s in, how his routine has developed and how it’s become his own,” Atkins said of Guerrero on Friday during a Zoom call with reporters. “Every day this off-season he’s got better, he looks great, he’s in a really good position.

“I’m really excited to see how that’s going to impact every aspect of his game this year.”

The six-foot-two Guerrero, whose weight is listed at 250 pounds, had nine home runs and 33 runs batted in last year while appearing in all 60 of Toronto’s games. The Jays posted a 32-28 record in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season to secure the eighth and final spot in the expanded American League playoffs before losing to Tampa Bay.

Guerrero Jr., the son of Hall of Fame outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, made his much-anticipated major-league debut in 2019, hitting .272 with 15 homers and 69 RBIs in 123 games. He was sixth in voting for the American League’s rookie of the year award.

“Vladdy is special,” Atkins said. “What he’s able to do with his athleticism when he’s maximizing it and his swing are really fun to watch.”

Atkins can see Guerrero’s off-season work paying off in 2021.

“If you think about the reps it takes and how many swings they (hitters) will take before they get into a batter’s box . . . so much of it is about the athleticism that you can repeat,” he said. “So the better shape you’re in, the more repeatable things are going to be because you’re able to repeat them more in your practice.

“Hitting is in some ways, and I think, is harder to evaluate, assess and project and predict or study than pitching because it’s so dynamic and you don’t know what the hitter’s thinking. You always know what they (pitchers) were trying to do, based on the outcome, where the catcher is set up . . . but with a hitter you don’t.”

The expectation is Guerrero will see time at third base during spring training. He was used exclusively at first and as a designated hitter last year.

As well, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who played left field in 2020, will get reps at first and third. Atkins said spring training is an ideal time for players to get time playing different positions.

“I think we have to envision all of those things and think about all of those potential scenarios that could occur,” Atkins said. “In an ideal world we don’t need to see that for an extended period of time because that means everyone is healthy, everyone is playing the positions they’re accustomed to.

“But what we don’t want to do is not think about that early in spring training, not use this time to give guys exposure to different positions so in the event we do have injuries . . . and really wanting ways to get different bats into the lineup this is the time to work on that, to give different players exposure to different positions.”

Atkins added it also gives manager Charlie Montoyo more options during games.

“It also creates different late-game decision-making opportunities for Charlie as he thinks about pinch-running, pinch-hitting and what that means for re-positioning and realigning our defence,” Atkins said.

The Blue Jays’ first exhibition contest is Feb. 28 in Tampa against the New York Yankees.

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Full transcript: Wayne Gretzky eulogizes his late father Walter – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Wayne Gretzky paid tribute to his late father Walter on Saturday in a heartfelt eulogy during the Gretzky patriarch’s funeral in Brantford, Ont. Below is a complete transcript of the eulogy, as transcribed by CTVNews.ca, edited for length and clarity.

Wayne Gretzky: Obviously, with the pandemic that we’ve had, it’s been horrible for everyone throughout the world, Canada, North America. I really want to tell everyone that my dad and my sister and our family were so conscious of it and that COVID had nothing to do with the passing of my father. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, he sustained a bad hip injury and, as I said earlier, we thought weeks ago that the end was here. He has a tremendous amount of faith. Faith like I’ve never seen, but he had a love for life and he didn’t want to leave. And we were 21 days sitting with him, and just enjoying life and we got a chance, an opportunity to tell stories.

Our grandchildren have… seen my dad after his brain aneurysm, and we were telling them all you’re thankful that you didn’t know him before his brain aneurysm because he was a lot tougher. So it’s been a tough time. I want to thank everyone in the community who dropped off food, who dropped off sandwiches, they knew we were all there for 21 days. My sister was a champ, she was beside him, each and every minute of the day. The grandkids were wonderful. My dad and mom, I know are so proud. So I thought I would tell a couple stories.

I spent the last four nights talking with my wife Janet, thinking what I was going to say and, like I usually do, I try to just kind of wing it and speak from my heart. So years ago, as everyone knows, my dad was such a huge sports fan and hockey guy, and we were playing in a hockey tournament outside of Toronto, and my dad was so proud of the fact we’re going to play against better teams than little towns in this area. On a Friday night, we were going to the tournament and my mom said, ‘No. Walter, we’re going to have this baby this weekend.’ And he said, ‘That’s OK, you can wait till we get back.’

So, Brent was born on the Saturday. We went to this tournament in Whitby, Ontario. We played against good teams like Burlington, Oshawa, Hamilton, Toronto Marlies, Nationals. We won the tournament, we got in the car and we weren’t sure if the car to get us back from Oshawa to Brantford. So we finally got back, and the next day, mom came home with Brent, people were coming by — families, friends, sisters — congratulations on the baby, and every single person would say to my dad, ‘Walter, I can’t believe you missed the birth of your son.’ So our next door neighbour Mary Rosetto came over and she was the last person to come over. She said, ‘Walter, I can’t believe you missed the birth of Brent,’ and when she walked out the door he was so mad, he stood up and grabbed the trophy and he goes, ‘Yes, but we got the trophy.’

So, as time goes on, he was so nice to all the grandchildren. Every grandchild loved him, close to each and every one of them. They understood how important he was not only to our family but to the culture of Canada. He came here, his family as an immigrant. They came here because he wanted a better life. I don’t think I’ve ever met a prouder Canadian than my dad. And all my five children are American, born in United States, and I always tell them you should be as proud of the United States as your grandfather is of Canada, because that’s how much he loves the country.

I always tell my kids there’s nothing better in life than family. My dad would come every year to our summer house. My sons Ty, Trevor, Tristan they had a hockey school and dad would come out, he’d go to the rink, sign autographs like he always does. We were playing golf one day, and he’s picking up golf balls. And I’m like, ‘We have all these golf balls, what are these golf balls for?’

And finally the next day, Ty, Trevor, and Tristan, my friend Mike and Tom, they’re in the fairway, they’re in the rough, they’re grabbing all these balls. And I finally grab them, I said, ‘You guys got to stop grabbing golf balls.’ And they’re like, ‘What do you mean? Your dad wants them for the kids.’ I said, I know he wants them for the kids, but I got to sign them for the kids.’ So I take my dad to the airport at 5 a.m., sure enough we get to the airport and there’s two big bags, and my brother Glen he runs out of the car, he’s going to get a cup of coffee, and my dad goes, ‘You’ll sign these for the kids, right?’ I’m like, ‘Oh my god.’ So there I was signing for hours, but that’s how he was.

He was a remarkable man who loved life, love family. We’d be a way better world if there was so many more people like my dad. Very special. We’re all hurting, this is a tough time. I’m so proud of the fact that so many people have reached out and given him such great tributes because he deserves it. He has a heart of gold and just wonderful. Thank you.

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Ace, bunker hole-out, massive putts all part of Jordan Spieth's third round – Golf Channel

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Jordan Spieth got off to a hot start Saturday at Bay Hill.

After sinking a 20-footer for birdie at the par-4 opening hole, Spieth dunked his tee shot from 223 yards at the par-3 second hole. The hole-in-one was Spieth’s third career ace on Tour, following aces at the 2013 Puerto Rico Open and 2015 BMW Championship at Conway Farms.

“I hit a 5-iron, it was 205 front, 220 hole, and the wind wasn’t blowing very hard, so I was trying to peel it left to right to hold the wind and land it a little right of the hole. I hit it a little thin but it was right on the line I wanted and knowing that the grass was wet, you get some skid, I thought in the air it was going to be pretty good. Certainly not as good as it was,” Spieth said.

Spieth’s birdie-ace start moved him to 8 under, a shot off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He then hit his next shot, a tee ball at the par-4 third, into the water, but he rallied to save par by holing a 32-footer.

The fireworks continued on the next par 3, the 201-yard seventh. No ace this time, but a birdie courtesy a 71-foot bunker hole-out.

Spieth then grabbed sole possession of the lead with this 36-foot birdie putt at the par-4 10th.

Spieth would two-putt for birdie at the par-5 12th but that was the end of his scoring. He missed a 6-footer for par at the 14th and an 8-footer for par at the 17th to drop two shots coming in. He finished with a 4-under 68 and, at 9 under par, was two back of leader Lee Westwood.

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Tom Wilson Offered In-Person Hearing For 'Boarding' Brandon Carlo – Boston Hockey Now

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The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Saturday morning that Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been offered an in-person hearing for ‘boarding’ Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo in the waning minutes of the Bruins’ 5-1 win over the Caps Friday night.

By offering an in-person hearing, the league now reserves the right to suspend Tom Wilson give games or more. Wilson’s last suspension came after the preseason finale for the Capitals and St. Louis Blues in September 2018 for a high hit on Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. The league came down heavy on Tom Wilson then, nailing him with a 20-game suspension, but after he served 16 games, it was reduced to 14 games and he was able to recoup wages lost for two games. At the time that was Wilson’s fourth suspension in 105 games so he was considered a repeat offender but he has since shed that label as he’s gone 166 games without a significant incident.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, and specifically winger Mark Jankowski, may disagree with that after a Wilson late hit on him on Feb. 25.

The hit on Carlo was not called on the ice and as TSN Insider Frank Seravalli pointed out, the fact that it is being termed ‘boarding’ by the Department of Player Safety means this will not be a hearing to determine if Rule 48 (illegal hit to the head) was broken. Tom Wilson will likely become the first player suspended for ‘boarding’.

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Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy described the hit as predatory.

“Well listen, it’s a fast game; they play hard, we play hard,” Cassidy said after the game Friday night. “But I mean you can see it, he clearly hit him in the head. Brandon’s in an ambulance; goes to a hospital obviously from that hit. It clearly looked like to me he got him right in the head. It’s a defenseless player and predatory hit from a player that’s done that before.”

Cassidy, like many who watched the hit, could not understand why there was no penalty on the ice.

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“So, I don’t understand why there wasn’t a penalty called on the ice,” a flabbergasted Cassidy said. “They huddled up but I did not get an explanation why but it’s out of our hands after that, we just gotta play hockey after that and try and stick together as a team and play the right way. Sometimes when that stuff happens and there’s no call, the players kind of settle it on the ice in their own way. We felt that we pushed back and did what we could do and won the hockey game and tried to let that particular player know that that was unnecessary. That’s how we handled it and like I said, I assume it will get looked at by the National Hockey League and they’ll make their decision.”

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