Blue Jays Manager Gaston Receives an Extension Through 2010

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cito Gaston signed a two-year contract extension with the Blue Jays before their home finale last night against the Yankees.

Toronto has a 49-36 record since Gaston replaced John Gibbons on June 20. Toronto is 84-75 overall, fourth in the AL East.

"It's something that, from Day One, J.P. and I talked about," Gaston said, referring to GM J.P. Ricciardi. "We talked about coming back for one year, but two years is great. Hopefully we can turn things around next year."

When Gaston was hired, Ricciardi said the two would sit down after the season to discuss Gaston's status for 2009. That changed in early August, when Ricciardi said Gaston would "definitely" be back.

Ricciardi said Gaston's biggest success has been improving Toronto's offense.

"Offensively we've really been the club that I thought we'd be, and he's had a big influence on that," Ricciardi said. "He may have simplified some things, the approach, maybe brought everything in a little mainstream. Just simplified runners in scoring position, tried not to make guys do too much."

Toronto's players were pleased to hear about Gaston's extension.

"We've obviously played much better since he and his staff have been here," CF Vernon Wells said. "It's good to know who we are going to have leading us into next year."

· MARINERS: Things got so bad in Seattle's clubhouse during this discouraging season that one player reportedly threatened to "knock out" OF Ichiro Suzuki, the team's highest-profile player.

A "clubhouse insider" quoted in yesterday's editions of the Seattle Times said: "I just can't believe the number of guys who really dislike him. It got to a point early on when I thought they were going to get together and go after him."

The story went on to say that coaches and then-manager John McLaren, who was fired June 19, intervened when one player was overheard talking about wanting to "knock him out." A meeting was called to clear the air.

Suzuki did not comment on the story, but RHP J.J. Putz said he doesn't remember any such incident and said there was no meeting to talk about it.

· INDIANS: RHP Fausto Carmona and C Victor Martínez began serving suspensions for a bench-clearing brawl against the Tigers after reaching an agreement with Major League Baseball that reduced their penalties by one game apiece.

-- From News Services

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